October 23, 2014

EPA sets energy booby traps for the US economy

From: Oil & Gas Journal

The US Environmental Protection Agency is setting booby traps for the economy as the last half term of the Obama presidency lumbers into view.

Three regulations in various stages of development will make energy costs explode.

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Related to Tier 3 is an imminent proposal by EPA to lower the allowed concentration of ground-level ozone to 60-70 ppb from 75 ppb, the standard in place since 2008. When the agency proposed a 70-ppb standard 3 years ago, the White House Office of Management and Budget quashed it in response to opposition from business groups.

October 20, 2014

Nearly All New Nanoengineered Chemicals Are Regulated by EPA Due to Potential Risks

From:Chemical Regulation Reporter

By Pat Rizzuto

The Environmental Protection Agency has regulated nearly all nanoengineered chemicals that it has reviewed under its new chemicals program, an EPA program manager who reviews such chemicals said Oct. 16.

By contrast, the EPA’s new chemicals program typically regulates only 10 percent to 15 percent of the traditional compounds it reviews, said Jim Alwood, a program manager in the EPA’s Chemical Control Division who coordinates nanotechnology issues under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

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The agency recently submitted a proposed data collection rule to the Office of Management and Budget.

October 14, 2014

DOL Makes It Official: New FLSA Regulations Delayed Until 2015

From: JDSupra Business Advisor

Doug Hass | Franczek Radelet P.C.

Back in late May, we told you that the Department of Labor had released its required Semiannual Regulatory Agenda. The Agenda, which is not binding on the DOL, included several FLSA-related items. Most importantly, the DOL listed its plans to address the “white collar” overtime exemption regulations with proposed rules next month, in November 2014. The section, “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees,” appears on page 56 and 57 of the Agenda. At the time, we predicted that “even with a short 30-day comment period and a quick turnaround on a final rule, the DOL is unlikely to have any new regulation in place before spring 2015.”

October 13, 2014

Small business agency taking aim at waterways rule has outsized impact on federal regulations

From: E&E Publishing/Greenwire

Annie Snider

A little-known federal office that has long been a thorn in the side of regulatory reform advocates is taking center stage in the battle over a controversial water regulation.

The fireworks began in earnest last week when the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy filed comments to the proposed water regulation that echoed talking points from industry and congressional opponents. The regulation would have a significant, direct impact on small entities, and U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers erred by not doing an analysis of those impacts, the office wrote, calling for the rule to be withdrawn (E&ENews PM, Oct 1).

October 10, 2014

Advocates Want OMB To Finalize Catfish Inspection Rule

Editor’s Note: If FSIS’s data on the health effects of the rule do not meet federal quality stanbdards, they can be challenged through the Data Quality Act.

From: Food Poisoning Bulletin

Food & Water Watch along with other organizations such as Consumer Federation of America and Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention called on the Office of Management and Budget to finalize an inspection program for domestic and imported catfish. The USDA drafted a final rule on this matter back in 2008 but nothing has happened since then. The FDA currently regulates catfish. Domestic processors are currently inspected just once every 5 to 10 years; only 2% of imported catfish is inspected.

October 8, 2014

EPA Submits Proposed Rule on Nanoscale Materials to OMB for Review

From: Nanotechnology Now

Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Director; Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted a proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) entitled “Chemical Substances When Manufactured or Processed as Nanoscale Materials; TSCA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements.” See http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=201404&RIN=2070-AJ54 The Regulatory Agenda item linked to the proposed rule states that EPA is developing a significant new use rule (SNUR) under Section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that would require persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process these chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by the proposed rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. …  A previous proposed rule had been under OMB review since November 22, 2010. Neither proposed rule has been publicly released. 

October 7, 2014

Cutting the red tape on the U.S. border

From: Maclean’s

Canada and the U.S. plan to end the ‘tyranny’ of regulations that raise the costs of goods crossing the border

Luiza Ch. Savage

Robert Carberry is as passionate as it’s possible to imagine a bureaucrat who bears the unwieldy title of assistant secretary regulatory co-operation council secretariat. Sitting in a conference room at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, he speaks with the rapid-fire excitement of a person whose dreams are about to come true.

After 13 years of leaders pushing for Canada-U.S. regulatory co-operation—with only fitful progress to show for their efforts—it is about to arrive wholesale.

October 6, 2014

Office of Advocacy on “Waters of the United States” RegFlex Compliance: “The Proposed Rule Has Been Certified in Error”

Editor’s Note: The complete letter from SBA’s Office of Advocacy to EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers is available here. Below are three brief excerpts.

Advocacy believes that EPA and the Corps have improperly certified the proposed rule under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) because it would have direct, significant effects on small businesses. Advocacy recommends that the agencies withdraw the rule and that the EPA conduct a Small Business Advocacy Review panel before proceeding any further with this rulemaking. 

October 2, 2014

Three Years Later, the Next Shoe Drops: OMB Approves Revised OFCCP Scheduling Letter

From: Crowell Moring

Significant changes are just over the horizon for federal contractors and subcontractors, as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the revised Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing (Scheduling Letter) proposed by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Three years after the OFCCP first submitted a revised Scheduling Letter to the OMB for approval, the Agency published a notice in the Federal Register on September 30th, announcing that the OMB has approved the revised Letter for use until March, 31, 2016. The revised Scheduling Letter will require contractors, at the outset of a compliance review, to submit to OFCCP individualized compensation data, personnel activity data broken out by each racial subgroup (rather than in two groupings – minorities and non-minorities), and additional materials to demonstrate compliance with the new regulations that became effective earlier this year, overhauling contractor obligations under the Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

September 30, 2014

OMB approval eliminates regulatory hurdle to Wi-Fi use at 5150-5250 MHz

From: FierceWirelessTech

 By

The final section of new rules opening up the 5.15-5.25 GHz band for broader Wi-Fi use has now been enacted after being vetted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

In March 2014, the FCC lifted the prohibition on outdoor Wi-Fi operations in the U-NII-1 band and also increased allowable power levels in the band. The commission’s order allows the use, under certain conditions, of existing Wi-Fi equipment designed to operate in the commonly used U-NII-3 band (5.725-5.825 MHz) in the newly opened U-NII-1 band (5150-5250 MHz).