Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Thousands of Potential New Regulations Have CEOs Concerned

The federal government plans to pile on thousands of new or tightened regulations in the next few months, and many business chiefs are concerned that this could retard economic growth once again.

In fact, when CEOs in the latest quarterly survey by The Business Roundtable were asked to identify the two most significant factors holding back increased U.S. investment spending, “regulatory issues” was the second-most mentioned impediment, with 46% of business chiefs (given two choices each) fingering that problem, while 63% were concerned about “U.S. tax policy.” In third place was “weak global demand,” mentioned by 38%.

“46% of business chiefs feel ‘regulatory issues’ is the number one challenge holding back their investment spending.”

In its latest semi-annual “unified” regulatory agenda filed right before Thanksgiving, the Obama administration included some 3,415 new or revised regulations—more than in the last agenda, including 189 rules whose implementation will each cost businesses more than $100 million.

They include a rule that is likely to be one of the most fought-over next year: the agency’s redefinition of “navigable” and “adjacent” waters covered under the Clean Water Act. The new submitted definition includes any piece of property connected to lands of the United States that has water overflow at any point of the year. That includes seasonal streams, ponds, ditches, depressions in fields and even large puddles.

The EPA says it only seeks to smooth out jurisdictional uncertainties in the wake of two recent Supreme Court rulings. But many CEOs and other business opponents see yet another aggressive attempt at government expansion that would prevent many companies and other landowners from excavating or filling in land without a permit that would have to be gained through an extremely long process.

“Besides the power grab, there’s the issue of real uncertainty whether the features of your land would make it considered navigable or adjacent waters, and that can create huge difficulties if you want to sell it,” Dan Bosch, manager of regulatory policy for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, told CEO Briefing.

Even CEOs of high-tech companies are expressing alarm at some likely new attempts at regulatory extension. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to propose rules for commercial drones next month that would mandate operators to have pilot licenses and limit drone flights to daytime hours, below 400 feet and within sight of the person at the controls, The Wall Street Journal reported.

This might crimp Amazon, Google and other companies experimenting with drones by increasing the costs and eroding the value of operating drones, particularly small ones, and effectively prohibit some commercial applications such as pipeline inspections, large-scale crop monitoring, and e-commerce deliveries, the newspaper said.


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.