New regs for Monday: Ice makers, drug and alcohol testing, small business loans

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for the energy conservation of commercial ice makers, drug and alcohol testing for foreign aircraft workers, and expanded access to loans for small businesses.

Here's what is happening.

Energy efficiency: The Department of Energy (DOE) is considering new energy conservation rules for automatic commercial ice makers. 

The DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will publish the proposed rule for ice makers in Monday's Federal Register

The rules would apply to continuous ice-making machines and establish standards for the maximum allowable energy use per 100 pounds of ice production.

The agency estimates that the new energy conservation standards will cost manufacturers $23.9 million, but save consumers even more on their energy bills. Some estimates put the consumer savings as high as $1.75 billion over a 30-year period.

Drug testing: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering new rules that would establish drug and alcohol testing requirements for certain maintenance crew members that operate on airplanes in other countries that will eventually fly into the United States.

The rules would apply to workers that perform safety-sensitive and preventive maintenance on these airplanes.

The rules would require these maintenance workers to follow local laws that satisfy the FAA.

Loans: The Small Business Administration (SBA) is considering changes that would expand access to financial assistance for women, low income, veteran and minority entrepreneurs. 

The agency runs a program that provides "microloans" of $50,000 or less to certain entrepreneurs who are in need of small amounts of financial assistance. The proposed rule would make it easier for certain small businesses to qualify. 

The rule would allow the program administrators to give microloans to businesses that employ an associate who is on probation or parole, with limited exceptions. It would also increase the number of microloans that program administrators are required to make each year.

Hunting: The Fish and Wildlife Service is expanding access for hunters to migratory game bird hunting, upland game hunting, big game hunting and sport fishing in certain areas of the country.

The agency announced Friday it is increasing options for hunters by adding six national wildlife refuges to the list of places where they can hunt, as well as increasing the hunting activities they can do at 20 other refuges. 

The rules apply to the 2013-14 hunting season. 

Animal drugs: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving forward with new rules for animal drug applications.  

The FDA plans to issue both a direct final rule and a proposed rule on the issue, which addresses the confidentiality of data and information that is provided with the applications for new animal drugs. The rule would change when certain information will be disclosed by the agency to the public.