Regulatory Analysis: Year in Review

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RegBlog celebrates 2013 by featuring our top analysis posts from the past year.

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As the new year arrives, The Regulatory Review would like to reflect on the many important regulatory developments that occurred in the United States and around the world during 2013.  We also want to recognize some of the excellent work we had the privilege to feature on The Regulatory Review this past year.  Over three days this week, we will present the top 50 The Regulatory Review essays of the past twelve months, based on the number of page views for the work appearing in each of our opinion, news, and analysis sections.  

Today we feature, in alphabetical order by author, the top Analysis stories from 2013.

offshore oil rig

Improving the Regulation of Offshore Oil Drills

Maxwell Blum | January 9

In 2010, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, causing the death of eleven workers and the worst oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. That a calamity of such magnitude could occur in an industry already subject to regulatory oversight surprised many observers and prompted tough questions about the efficacy of the regulations that failed to prevent it.

financial crisis aheadImproving Crisis-driven Financial Regulation

Margot Campbell | January 14

It may come as no surprise that crisis-driven situations are prone to the adoption of ineffective rules. Seeking to mitigate economic harm and ease public concern in the face of a crisis, legislators often feel compelled to pass new laws before they have collected adequate information about the true causes of the crisis.

oil rig tower natural gas-thumb-350x232-18902States’ Varied Approaches to Fracking Regulation

Kara Cheever | July 24

Fracking, more formally known as hydraulic fracturing, has created a natural gas boom and revitalized some rural economies – but not without raising environmental concerns. The advanced drilling technique designed to release shale gas appears to alter the mineral composition of local environments and may increase the likelihood of earthquakes and water contamination in communities near drilling sites.

pharmaceutical factory workerFDA Clarifies the Orphan Drug Act

Kara Cheever | August 13

Orphan diseases afflict over 25 million Americans. An orphan disease is an illness that affects a relatively small part of the population, specifically fewer than 200,000 Americans. Unfortunately, there are many such orphan diseases, including cystic fibrosis, Wilson’s disease, and Crohn’s disease.

ecigarette-thumb-400x245-19026The Future of E-Cigarette Regulation

Lauren-Kelly Devine | September 17

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, provide a water vapor-powered alternative to traditional smoking that may help users drop the unhealthy habit. But, in light of the recent finding that use among middle and high school students is rapidly increasing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has indicated that a new regulatory regime to manage these novel products more effectively is on the horizon.

problem of finding workDo Federal Regulations Impede Economic Growth?

Eric Lorber | April 3

Some politicians, business leaders, and scholars have suggested that an increase in federal regulation during President Obama’s first term, most evident in the new health care and financial regulation laws, dampened economic growth and job creation. However, new academic research suggests that these claims lack statistical support.

logging-thumb-350x232-18730Supreme Court Reaffirms Agency Discretion in Interpreting Regulations

Eric Lorber | April 24

When federal agencies impose regulations on businesses, who decides what those rules actually mean? In a recent decision, the Supreme Court said that agencies do. In Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, the Court examined whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reasonably interpreted its regulations when concluding that permits were not required under the Clean Water Act to discharge storm water runoff from logging operations.

speedlimit-thumb-350x232-18837Do Lower Speed Limits Cost Society Less?

Eric Lorber | June 27

In recent years, a number of states have raised speed limits on highways. Observers suggest that other states will likely follow suit, as toll roads with high speed limits create revenue for states as federal highway diminishes.

modern neighborhoodHow Should the U.S. Regulate Housing Finance After the 2008 Crisis?

Aimee Martin | January 10, 2013

Traditional regulatory oversight may have been just what the housing finance industry needed in the lead-up to the financial crisis in 2008. Yet instead of regulating housing finance through traditional command-and-control legislation, housing finance in the U.S. was primarily “regulated” at the time through the public provision of housing capital.

Credit Card Debt Collection-thumb-350x233-18684CFPB Reports to Congress on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Aimee Martin | April 10 

All debt collectors are not evil. At least, that is what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently emphasized in an annual report sent to Congress. In the report, CFPB points out that debt collection plays an essential role in consumer credit markets. By providing for recovery of unpaid debts and minimizing losses, creditors are able to expand the provision of credit and offer it at lower prices.

soda cokeNYC “Soda Ban” Overturned: An Analysis of the Opinion

Bianca Nunes | April 2

A New York state trial court judge’s ruling last month to strike down the New York City Board of Health’s Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule seemed to be a stunning rebuke to Mayor Michael Bloomberg on one of his most ambitious initiatives. The Portion Cap Rule, dubbed “the New York City soda ban,” would have prohibited New York City restaurants, movie theaters, and other food service establishments from serving sugary drinks in sizes larger than sixteen fluid ounces.

regulatory breakdown cover_small-3Regulatory Breakdown in the United States

The Regulatory Review Staff | January 7 – 24

Eventsof the last several years have deeply shaken public confidence in the U.S. regulatory system. According to many observers, the financial crisis and the Gulf Coast oil spill would never have occurred but for lax regulatory oversight. Still others charge that the sluggish pace of the U.S. economic recovery stems in part from regulatory excesses, including the looming and uncertain new controls called for by the Dodd-Frank Act and the Affordable Care Act.

OEOBDebate over OIRA’s Virtues and Vices Continues

Christina Reichert | June 26

As the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) awaits a new Administrator, debate continues to rage over the virtues and vices of the OIRA review process. In recent papers, both critics and defenders of OIRA have renewed their arguments, just as President Obama’s pick to fill the vacancy to head OIRA is under consideration by the Senate.

creditcard-thumb-350x232-18821A Call to Clarify the Regulatory Scope of Money Transmitter Laws

Wistar Wilson | June 19

Every day, countless transactions take place online. With the click of a button, customers can purchase items from anywhere in the world without having to leave their homes. Services like Paypal have radically transformed the nature of modern-day trade, allowing customers and vendors to connect without face-to-face interactions.