New regs for Thursday: Old money, highway traffic radio, drug confiscations

Thursday's edition of the Federal Register, which the agency posted more than 45 minutes behind schedule, contains new rules for electric motors, highway advisory radio stations, drug confiscations, and mutilated money.

Here's what is happening:

Electric motors: The Department of Energy is moving forward with new energy efficiency standards for commercial and industrial electric motors that are expected to cost industry hundreds of millions of dollars, the agency announced Wednesday.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy said the rules would apply to many electric motors that were not previously covered and raise the standards for those that were.

"In setting these standards, DOE is addressing a number of different groups of electric motors that have, to date, not been required to satisfy the energy conservation standards," the agency wrote.

The Energy Department estimates the rules will cost the industry $348 million but could save consumers as much as $28 billion in energy bills and another $38 billion in environmental benefits over the next 30 years.

But fire-pump electric motors will be exempted from the rule.

The rule goes into effect in 60 days.

Money: The Department of the Treasury is moving forward with new rules for people who turn in money that has been mutilated so the government will take the bills out of circulation and reimburse them, the agency announced Wednesday.

The Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing said the rules, which haven't been updated since 1991, are intended to prevent fraud.  

The interim rule changes go into effect immediately.

Radio: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering relaxing the rules for radio stations that broadcast travelers' information stations (TIS) audio frequencies. 

Travelers' information stations, also known as highway advisory radio stations, update motorists with news about traffic conditions, such as accidents and other delays on the roads. 

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) petitioned the FCC to ease up on the rules. The agency is now seeking public comment on the issue.

The public has 30 days to comment. 

Drugs: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving forward with a rule that allows the agency to confiscate drugs it believes are adulterated or misbranded, the agency announced Wednesday.

The rule apply to drugs that are posing as pharmaceuticals that have been approved by the FDA. The FDA could detain these drugs until it has a chance to test them.

"This authority is intended to protect the public by preventing distribution or subsequent use of drugs encountered during inspections that are believed to be adulterated or misbranded, until FDA has had time to consider what action it should take concerning the drugs, and to initiate legal action, if appropriate," the agency wrote.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

Fuel: The Surface Transportation Board is considering new fuel surcharge rules for trains.

The agency established a fuel surcharge index in 2007, but it is considering making changes to the system, which allows trains to charge an additional fee intended to match increases in the cost of fuel.

The public has until July 14 to comment.