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Smarter Regulation for U.S. Manufacturing

Background

RegBurdenFrontThe American free enterprise system has long been one of the greatest engines for prosperity and liberty in the world, and manufacturing — including the forest products industry — is a cornerstone of that success. The forest products industry is of critical importance to the U.S. economy. More than 75 percent of U.S. pulp and paper mills are located in rural counties, and every job in the paper industry supports 3.25 more jobs in supplier industries and local communities. On the wood products side of the industry, each job supports 2.25 more jobs in other parts of the economy.

In addition to facing the challenges of an increasingly competitive global economy, American manufacturing must wrestle with an economy here at home that has become distorted by a patchwork of mandates and incentives imposed by unelected regulators at the rate of roughly 3,500 new federal rules each year.

U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers have spent billions of dollars on regulatory compliance and are estimated to spend an additional $10 billion in new capital expenditures over the next decade.
Poorly-designed regulations can cause more harm than good, stifle innovation, discourage growth, limit job creation, waste limited resources, undermine sustainable development and, ultimately, erode the public’s confidence in government.

Government leaders must embrace systemic regulatory reform. Regulations should be designed to provide net benefits to the public based on the best available scientific and technical information through a transparent and accountable rulemaking process, with due consideration of the cumulative regulatory burden.

 

Policy Recommendations:

The president and Congress have an historic opportunity to dramatically improve the regulatory process to serve the public interest, promote jobs and increase the competitiveness of the American pulp, paper, packaging and wood products industry. The following policy proposals are intended to help reach that goal:

  • Do More Good Than Harm: Congress and the president should ensure that the benefits of regulations justify the costs and that the most cost-effective approach is sought to achieve statutory objectives. (AF&PA supports the “Regulatory Accountability Act,” S. 951, H.R. 5.)
  • Sound Science: Regulatory decisions should be based on the best available scientific and technical information. (AF&PA supported the “Secret Science Reform Act of 2015,” S.544; H.R.1030.)
  • Transparency: Agencies should disclose data to the public early, outline models and other key information used in high-impact rulemakings and provide an adequate opportunity for meaningful public input. Moreover, court settlements between regulators and interest groups to require rulemakings should be published and disclosed to the public and reviewed by OIRA before going final. (AF&PA supports the House and Senate Sunshine Regulatory Acts, H.R. 469; S. 119.)
  • Streamline the Permitting Process: The cumbersome federal permitting process for siting or modernizing facilities or projects must be modernized to be timely, certain and efficient so that beneficial projects can proceed, and jobs can be created. This requires the reform of policies and rules under statutes such as the Clean Air Act.
  • Retrospective Review of Rules: There should be an institutionalized, retrospective review to streamline and simplify existing rules and to remove outdated and duplicative rules. The retrospective review process should be the beginning of a bottom-up analysis of how agencies can best accomplish their statutory goals. This should include a careful analysis of regulatory requirements and their necessity, as well as an estimation of their value to achieve needed outcomes. (AF&PA supports the SCRUB Act, H.R. 998.)
  • Accountability: The president should direct all regulatory agencies, including the independent agencies, to promptly implement the preceding recommendations. As all regulation starts with the delegation of lawmaking authority from Congress, Congress should elevate these principles into binding law.

Supported Legislation:


LEGISLATION

CHAMBER

REASON FOR SUPPORT

Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS)

House

Requires Congressional approval for any regulation costing $100 million or more.

Regulatory Accountability Act

House Senate

Provides a judicially enforceable cost-benefit standard for major federal regulations and requires greater opportunity for public input and vetting of critical information — especially for billion-dollar rules.

Separation of Powers Restoration Act

House

Ends judicial deference to bureaucrats’ statutory and regulatory interpretations.

Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act

House

Requires agencies to account for the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of new regulations on small businesses — and find flexible ways to reduce them.

Require Evaluation before Implementing Executive Wishlists (REVIEW) Act

House

Prohibits new billion-dollar rules from taking effect until courts can resolve litigation challenging them.

All Economic Regulations are Transparent (ALERT) Act

House

Forces agencies to publish online, timely information about regulations in development and their expected nature, costs, and timing.

Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act

House

Requires agencies to publish plain-language online summaries of new proposed rules, so the public can understand what agencies actually propose to do.