New regs for Tuesday: Waters, air pollution, animals

Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for U.S. waterways, air pollution, the welfare of animals in the military, protections for certain parrots, and import restrictions on certain deadly snakes.

Here's what is happening: 

Waters: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers are delaying a rule that would extend the federal government's regulatory authority to small rivers, lakes and streams across the country, they wrote in the Federal Register.

The EPA said it is extending the comment period on the Waters of the United States rule through Oct. 20 to give interested parties more time to consider the rule. The original deadline was scheduled to hit next month. 

The EPA proposed the rule in April, in what Republicans called a power grab. The agency already has the authority to regulate the nation's major waterways, but many critics question why it would need to establish rules for a small pond on a farm, for instance.

The EPA announced the extension two weeks ago, but it is just now hitting the Federal Register, which makes it official.

Air: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering new air pollution rules for states in New England.

The EPA said Monday it is looking to approve the state ambient air quality standards submitted by Maine and New Hampshire, which indicates they both comply with the agency's national minimum standards under the Clean Air Act.

The public has 30 days to comment.

Animal welfare: The Defense Department is moving forward with a rule to protect military animals that contractors use for research, development, testing, evaluation or training.

The new rule would allow the Defense Department to opt out of a contract if the contractor is not complying with the proper animal welfare laws, the agency wrote.

The rule would also give the Defense Department the authority to inspect contractors' facilities to make sure they are complying with the animal welfare rules.

"Contractors shall acquire and care for animals in accordance with the pertinent laws of the United States," the Defense Department wrote.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Parrots: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is moving to protect three type of parrots from extinction, the agency announced Monday.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said it is listing the Philippine cockatoo and the yellow-crested cockatoo as endangered, while at the same time listing the white cockatoo as threatened, a distinction that carries with it fewer protections. 

The FWS said it is trying to protect these types of parrots from poaching.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

Snakes: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is considering new rules that would prevent people from importing and traveling with certain dangerous snakes, the agency said Monday.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said it is looking to add five types of large constrictor snakes to the injurious species list. This would require the owners of these snakes to obtain a permit to import them into the country or travel between states with them, the agency said.

These rules are intended to protect people from dangerous animals, but they can also be used to protect farmers from animals that may be harmful to their crops, among other things. 

The public has 30 days to comment.