New regs for Tuesday: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, air quality standards

Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register contains new anti-money laundering rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as possible penalties for Pennsylvania, because it has not complied with national air quality standards.

Here's what is happening:

Money laundering: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is moving forward with a rule that requires government-sponsored mortgage companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to establish anti-money laundering programs.

FinCEN, a division of the Treasury Department, already has anti-money laundering programs in place at private financial institutions, such as banks, casinos, money services, securities brokers and dealers, mutual funds, insurance companies, futures merchants, and loan and finance companies.

But the new rule would target Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the Federal Home Loan Banks. They would be required to set up anti-money laundering programs and report suspicious activities. 

The requirements include developing internal policies, procedures and controls to prevent money laundering, designating a compliance officer, training employees to spot money laundering, and independent audits to test the programs.

Air standards: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering sanctions against the state of Pennsylvania for failing to comply with national ambient air quality standards.

Pennsylvania was supposed to develop an attainment plan for reducing the amount of lead in the air in three areas of the state, including Berks county, Beaver county, and the Lower Beaver Valley. But the state missed a 2012 deadline.

The EPA is giving Pennsylvania four months to comply, or the agency will develop its own attainment standards for the state and could issue fines.

Pesticides: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will consider new rules for certain pesticides that farmers use on their produce.

In response to several petitions, the EPA said it is seeking public comment on the use of the pesticide "fungicide metrafenone," which is often used on fruits such as apricots and cherries. 

The agency is waiting to hear from the public before it determines whether rules may be warranted.

Food additives: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is denying a request to loosen certain food additive regulations. The petitioner had asked the agency to change the rules to allow the safe use of ionizing radiation to control foodborne pathogens and extend the shelf life for fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach.

Tankers: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is withdrawing rules for cargo tank motor vehicles that it had proposed in 2011. The rules would have established new regulatory requirements for loading and unloading tankers.

Instead, the agency plans to issue guidance for best practices when loading and unloading these tankers, but it won't issue regulations.