New regs for Thursday: Animals on airplanes, sharks, coal plants

Thursday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for coal plants, animals that fly on airplanes, commodity trading and sharks.

Here's what is happening:

War on coal: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduling additional hearings around the country to discuss its proposed rules for carbon emissions at existing coal plants, the agency announced Wednesday.

The EPA will hold four additional hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., over the course of the next month.

This comes after the EPA proposed strict new emissions rules for coal plants last month, drawing praise from environmental groups and sharp criticism from the coal industry.

"Because of the overwhelming response to the previously announced public hearings, the EPA will hold four additional public hearings," the agency said.

Air bud: The Department of Transportation is moving forward with new protections for animals that fly on airplanes, the agency announced Wednesday.

The new rules will require air carriers to report the loss, injury, or death of any animal that is being transported on the plane. Previously, the reporting requirements focused on dogs and cats, but the Transportation Department is expanding the rules to cover any other animal on the plane, as well.

The rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

Furnace fans: The Department of Energy is moving forward with new energy efficiency requirements for furnace fans that could cut energy usage in half.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the new rules last week, but they are just now hitting the Federal Register, making them official. The rules go into effect in 60 days. 

Moniz said the rules will save consumers more than $9 billion in home electric bills.

Trading: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is delaying two rules that would establish speculative position limits for commodity trading.

The public will now have an additional 30 days to comment on the hedging rules.

Regulations: The Department of Energy is looking to weed out unnecessary and excessive regulations, the agency announced Wednesday.

"The purpose of (the Energy Department's) review is to make the agency’s regulatory program more effective and less burdensome in achieving its regulatory objectives," the agency said.

The public has 15 days to comment.

Sharks: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is moving to protect certain populations of scalloped hammerhead sharks.

The NMFS announced Wednesday it is listing these hammerhead sharks as threatened, after WildEarth Guardians and Friends of Animals petitioned the agency to do so.

The rule goes into effect in 60 days.