News regs for Thursday: SBA loans, endangered species

Thursday's Federal Register contains 70 new agency submissions, including the U.S. Small Business Administration's push to make loans easier to obtain and an extension of a proposed rule to protect endangered species.

Here’s what’s happening:

SMALL BUSINESS: The U.S. Small Business Administration is finalizing rules aimed at making it easier for small businesses to qualify for loans. The move will give entrepreneurs increased access to the SBA's two flagship lending programs, 504 Loan Program and the 7(a) Loan Program, as the agency modifies some of the requirements for participants.

SBA says the intent of the updated rules is to eliminate unnecessary compliance burdens and eligibility restrictions that had been preventing some small businesses from accessing loans.

The SBA received 99 comments from more than 60 businesses, financial institutions, trade associations and individuals about the rule. Many of the comments were supportive, but others suggested it would create a "gray area" where some small businesses may be treated differently than others with regards to access to loans.

The rule will go into effect in 30 days.

Endangered Species: The Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing a six-month extension to a proposed rule that would protect an endangered species of fish.

The proposed rule concerns whether to list the Zuni Bluehead Sucker as an endangered species. The population of the Zuni Bluehead Sucker has rapidly declined by 90 percent over the last two decades, experts say.

"We are taking this action because there is substantial disagreement regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the available data relevant to our determination regarding the proposed listing rule, making it necessary to solicit additional information by reopening the comment period for 30 days," the agency said.