New regs for Wednesday: Toxic substances, import restrictions, employee benefits

Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for toxic substances, import restrictions, and employee benefits.

Here's what is happening:

Toxic: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is turning down a petition for new regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The EPA denied a request by petitioners to write a rule that would require property managers, building owners, and contractors that disturb lead-based paint in public and commercial buildings to submit records to the agency as it relates to lead construction standards under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's rule.

Several unions, health and environmental organizations submitted the petition last October, including the National Center for Healthy Housing, International Union of Painters & Allied Trades, Lead and Environmental Hazards Association, and National Association of Lead and Healthy Homes Grantees.

The EPA denied their request on Jan. 28.

Import restrictions: The Obama administration is extending import restrictions on archeological material from Honduras.

The Treasury Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are issuing a joint ruling to extend the import restrictions of archaeological and ecclesiastical ethnological materials from the country. The agencies are extending the ban, which was set to expire on March 12, for another five years.

Hazard mitigation: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is considering a new rule that would give state governments more power to administer the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. 

FEMA announced Tuesday it is seeking public comment on whether to implement a provision of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which would delegate authority to state administrators to implement the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

This rule change would offer a new method for delivering the program.

Employee benefits: The Labor Department is considering a rule change under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act that would require pension providers to disclose information about compensation and potential conflicts of interest.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration, a branch of the Labor Department, announced the proposed rule Tuesday. 

"The amendment would, upon adoption, require covered service providers to furnish a guide to assist plan fiduciaries in reviewing the disclosures required by the final rule if the disclosures are contained in multiple or lengthy documents," the agency wrote.

Tolerances: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving forward with a rule that will establish tolerances for fenamindone residues. Fenamindone is a fungicide that is used on produce such as grapes, potatoes, tobacco, and vegetables.

The EPA establish these tolerances for fenamidone residues on ginseng, beans, and onions.