Easing burden of regulations

A lot of the credit for a rejuvenated U.S. economy seems to be going to Congress and President Donald Trump for their efforts to reform the job-killing federal tax code. Indeed, news of the change seems to have been the catalyst for decisions by many companies to build new facilities and pay employees more.

But an unseen tax, the cost of complying with unnecessarily burdensome regulations, is being reformed, too. Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to ask.

On Jan. 9, Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., wrote to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt about one of the more absurd regulations. It is — or was, until Pruitt killed it — the “once-in-always-in” policy regarding air emissions. Under that rule, if a factory or other emitter became subject to the EPA’s Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards, it could never get out from under them — even if it lowered emissions below levels that triggered imposition of the requirements.

There was no reward for succeeding in decreasing emissions, in other words, just a continuing struggle to comply with rules not needed to safeguard air quality.

Once Capito and Barrasso explained, Pruitt was quick to rescind the policy.

That and many other common-sense changes in the regulatory climate will create new jobs, make existing ones more secure, and grow the economy.

There is just one cost to the new climate: A few bureaucrats whose jobs depended on ridiculous regulations may have to do something productive, for a change.

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