New regs for Friday: Electric vehicles, pesticide approvals, mortgage banking oversight

Friday's edition of the Federal Register will contain new rules that would give credits to state governments that install electric vehicle fleets and infrastructure, pesticide approvals, and changes in mortgage banking oversight.

Here's what is happening: 

Electric vehicle credits: The Department of Energy is moving forward with a rule that would give credits to states that purchase electric vehicles for government use and install alternative fuel infrastructure.

The new rules, which revise the Energy Department's Alternative Fuel Transportation Program, also provide credits to states that invest in other types of relevant emerging technologies.

State governments that operate fleets of 50 or more light duty vehicles, of which at least 40 percent are centrally fueled, would be eligible for the credits.

The Energy Department originally proposed the rule in October 2011. The rule goes into effect in one month.

"The overall objectives of the fleet programs ... are to expand the use of alternative fuels ... within specified fleets and to replace petroleum with replacement fuels to the 'maximum extent practicable,' " the agency wrote.

Pesticide: The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with a rule that would allow farmers to use residues of a heat-killed pesticide.

The EPA has determined that the residues are safe and would cause no harm to the public, because they have been killed by heat. Therefore, it is issuing an exemption from the previous limits that had been imposed on Burkholderia spp. strain A396 cells and spent fermentation media.

"Based upon that evaluation, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the U.S. population, including infants and children," the agency wrote.

Marrone Bio Innovations Inc., the manufacturer of the pesticide, requested the exemption.

The rule goes into effect immediately. 

Mortgage rules: The Treasury Department is withdrawing mortgage rules that have been transferred to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced the changes Thursday, saying the agency no longer needed to oversee certain mortgage loan originators, because the CFPB is doing that now.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created the CFPB and gave it authority to oversee mortgage banks beginning in July 2011. 

The rule goes into effect immediately.

FOIA: The Federal Trade Commission is moving forward with a rule that updates the costs it charges to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests. 

Government agencies are required to provide certain information to the public upon request, but they can charge for the cost of providing the information, such as the time federal employees spent producing the information and the cost of the paper.

The FTC is updating the fees to reflect changes in how much it costs for the agency to provide those services.

Privacy: The Transportation Department is giving the agency's inspector general the authority to oversee the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act within the agency.

Most government agencies are assigned an inspector general, who policies the agency. So the Transportation secretary decided to give the inspector general the authority to grant FOIA requests from the public and to enforce the Privacy Act within the agency.

The rule goes into effect immediately.