New regs for Monday: Explosives, hazardous materials, unlocking cellphones

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for explosives used at coal mine sites, the transportation of hazardous materials, apple exports to Canada and people who "unlock" or "jailbreak" their cellphones.

Here's what is happening:

Explosives: The Interior Department's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is delaying new rules for blasting operations at surface coal mine sites, the agency said Friday.

ADVERTISEMENT
OSMRE announced it was considering strengthening the blasting regulations for coal mines in July, after it received a petition from the group WildEarth Guardians asking the agency to prohibit visible nitrogen oxide emissions that result from blasting operations.

WildEarth Guardians argued such rules would protect the health and safety of not only the coal mine workers but also the surrounding public.

But OSMRE said Friday it is extending the comment period through Sept. 25 to give the public more time to consider the potential changes.

Hazardous materials: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is considering new transportation regulations for hazardous materials to align U.S. rules with international standards, the agency announced Friday.

The rules would establish new hazard classes, air transport quantity limitations and ship stowage requirements, among other changes.

"Harmonization facilitates international trade by minimizing the costs and other burdens of complying with multiple or inconsistent safety requirements for transportation of hazardous materials to and from the United States," the PHMSA wrote.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Apples: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is moving forward with a new rule exempting large exports of apples to Canada from inspection requirements, the agency announced Friday.

The rule applies to apples shipped in bulk containers that weigh more than 100 pounds.

The final rule goes into effect next week.

Cellphones: The Library of Congress's Copyright Office is moving forward with a rule that protects people who unlock their cellphones.

The previous rules surrounding cellphone "unlocking" or "jailbreaking" were murky at best, with some rules leaving the door open for possible federal prosecution of people who circumvent their cellphones' control measures so they can use them on other networks.

But the Library of Congress is moving forward with a rule that clarifies this is not a crime.

The rule goes into effect immediately.

Medical devices: The Food and Drug Administration is correcting errors it made in regulations for medical devices.

The changes go into effect immediately.