A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicates that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used 20-year-old data while assessing the impact of some of its regulations on employment levels:
EPA estimated effects of its regulations on employment, in part, using a study that, according to EPA officials, represented the best reasonably obtainable data when they conducted their analyses. However, the study was based on data that were more than 20 years old and may not have represented the regulated entities addressed... [GAO]
The data, which dated from 1979 to 1991, was used as recently as June 2013.
As the GAO report dryly noted, without updated data, the regulatory impact analyses "may be limited in their usefulness." This revelation is a boon to EPA critics, who often charge that the agency's regulations protect the environment at the expense of the economy. The EPA has most recently been challenged on this front by farmers, electrical workers, and coal miners.