The Washington Post

Shutdown metric: Federal Register’s drastic slimdown

Like one of those diet advertisements with dramatic before and after pictures, here’s a stark illustration of the impact of the government shutdown: Wednesday’s edition of the Federal Register, essentially the diary of everything the government did the day before, was a mere 12 pages.

The Federal Register, with its seemingly endless parade of regulations, meeting notices and solicitations for comment, typically runs in the hundreds of pages. It’s hardly riveting reading, but if you want to know, for example, about the dog management plan for the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, it’s your go-to.

It’s hard to pin down an exact figure, but a back-of-the envelope calculation using annual data shows that in 2012, the average Register clocked in at more than 300 pages.

The sudden slimdown of the Federal Register is an obvious consequence of the shutdown, yet an interesting (at least to us geeks) measure of its effect. And perhaps some could see this as a silver lining to the shutdown — think of the trees being saved!

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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