Reg Watch

• The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule that allows the use of pesticide methyl bromide (in amounts up to 150 parts per million) “in or on cotton” and cottonseed. The agency has determined that it will not cause harm to the general population because there will be no “human dietary exposure.” Environmental advocates posted comments opposing the rule, citing concerns about pollution and the toxicity of the chemical. A dairy trade group commented in favor of the measure, noting that cottonseed constitutes about “15 percent” of a dairy cow’s diet and provides protein, fat and fiber to dairy cows. In 2012, agricultural associations and companies spent more than $550,000 lobbying the federal government in favor of methyl bromide use, according to federal databases.

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

• The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has proposed adjustments to quotas on the production of “schedule I and II controlled substances.” According to the DEA, schedule I controlled substances have a high possibility of abuse and a “lack of accepted safety.” Some of the proposed schedule I substances up for adjustment include mescaline; morphine; 5-Methoxy-3, 4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MMDA); and other psychedelics. Schedule II controlled substances also have the potential for abuse and “may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Some of the drugs listed for an increased quota include amphetamine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Comments are due by Aug. 6.

• The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has proposed a rule to consolidate the lending-limit rules of banking institutions and savings and loan associations and “remove its separate regulation governing lending limits for savings associations.” The proposal would amend rules to implement a portion of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Specifically, the rule would change the legal definition of “loans and extensions of credit” to include potentially volatile “credit exposures arising from derivative transactions, repurchase agreements, reverse repurchase agreements, securities lending transactions and securities borrowing transactions.” Many of these complex financial instruments are thought to have had an impact on the financial crisis. The OCC is giving institutions an exception for the above transactions until Jan. 1, 2013. Comments are due by Aug. 6.