Reg Watch

The following final and proposed rules are undergoing review by the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. These regulations would each have an annual economic impact greater than $100 million.

•  The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a rule to comply with the 2009 Tobacco Control Act, which calls for FDA-approved “color graphics depicting the negative health consequences of smoking” on cigarette packages and ads. The rule, which would require specific warning statements, would allow the administration to change the size of the typed text and the format to ensure visibility. Distributors would no longer be allowed to sell packages without these labels as of Oct. 22, 2012.

• The Environmental Protection Agency has drafted a proposed rule, currently under review with the Office of Management and Budget, that would revise underground storage tank regulations. The initial 1988 regulation was created to stop excess petroleum from gas stations and other facilities from contaminating the environment. Possible changes to the regulation include additional training requirements for running the tanks, occasional operation and maintenance requirements and “adding new release prevention and detection technologies.” EPA says the proposed rule, noted by OMB as economically significant, would allow for more effective enforcement of the regulations all across the United States.

Public comment periods are closing soon for the following proposed rules:

• The Environmental Protection Agency has opened an annual proposed rule for comment regarding restrictions on the use of methyl bromide. The agency had previously phased out all production and use of the odorless, colorless substance starting in 2005. The methyl bromide phase-out started due to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Clean Air Act. The agency wants to identify critical uses with no alternatives, including agricultural and pest control, where limited production would be allowed. The EPA seeks comments through May 31.

• The Federal Communications Commission proposed a rule that would alter certification procedures for Internet-based relay providers that provide communication services to the deaf. The commission could require documentation and receipts for equipment or software being used by the providers, along with a copy of the deed or lease for the operated call center. The commission’s proposal for universal certification, which may include onsite visits, is open for initial comments through June 1.

•  The Postal Service has proposed a rule altering current domestic mailing standards. Individuals would have unique tracking barcodes for each commercial parcel sent, excluding Standard Mail parcels sent before January 2012. The Postal Service’s rule, which would provide free tracked delivery on all non-standard mail parcels to encourage use of the barcodes, is open for comment through May 31.