New regs for Thursday: Job training, drinking water, chemicals

Thursday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for job training, recognizing Indian tribes, and testing and reporting requirements for drinking water and certain chemicals.

Here's what is happening:

Job training: The Department of Education is considering a program that would teach people with disabilities the skills and knowledge they need to get a good-paying job, the agency announced Wednesday.

The Education Department proposed a priority to improve the job training that people with disabilities are receiving from state agencies.

Studies show that people with disabilities suffer from higher unemployment rates than those without disabilities. In 2013, the national disabled unemployment rate was 12.9 percent.

This has been a growing problem since the recession, the agency said. 

"While education and training, labor market information, and relevant job skills are important for all workers, they are particularly important for individuals with disabilities so that they can access more competitive jobs with good wages and benefits," the agency wrote.

The public has 30 days to comment.

Water: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is relaxing the testing requirements for drinking water, the agency announced Wednesday.

Public water systems will now be allowed to choose from an additional 21 methods for testing drinking water to make sure it is not contaminated and that it complies with the national primary drinking water regulations.

The EPA says this will expedite the tests and reduce the monitoring costs for these companies.

The rule goes into effect immediately.

Chemicals: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is relaxing the regulations on three chemicals that it believes do not present a great danger to people's health or the environment, the agency said Wednesday.

The EPA will add these three chemicals to a list of substances that are partially exempt from reporting requirements, because the agency has "low current interest" in the results.

The rule goes into effect in 60 days.

Indians: The Interior Department is considering a new rule that would speed up the process by which a group of Native Americans can apply to be recognized by the federal government as an Indian tribe.

Currently, there is no time limit for the hearing process, but the new rules would require a decision within 180 days in most cases, the agency said.

"In our experience, full administrative adjudications involving pre-hearing conferences, discovery, motions, an evidentiary hearing, briefing, and a decision often take over a year to complete, especially if the case involves multiple parties and complex issues," the agency wrote. "Shortening this process to 180 days will be a substantial challenge for the parties and the judge, and will require adherence to fairly stringent procedural limits and deadlines."

Oil: The Interior Department's Office of Natural Resources Revenue is considering changes to how it values oil produced on Indian reservations.

The public has 60 days to comment.