New regs for Thursday: Distilled spirits, weapons imports, air pollution

Thursday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for the manufacturers of distilled spirits alcohol products, imports of weapons, air pollution and closed captioning. 

Here's what is happening:

Distilled spirits: The Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is moving forward with changes to a rule that will make it easier for companies to submit forms electronically.

The new rules allow alcohol manufacturers to retain their original records and submit copies electronically. The rules will also allow for these companies to submit information electronically to other agencies that are involved in the regulatory process. 

"This amendment removes a barrier that industry members have faced when trying to apply for permits completely by electronic means," the agency wrote.

Furthermore, the agency is removing a requirement that distilled spirits manufacturers keep daily records of the types of drinks that they bottle or package.

Finally, the rule will align certain regulations for imported distilled spirits with existing regulations for domestic distilled spirits.

The rule goes into effect in one month.

Guns: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is giving up control of certain munitions imports to the State Department.

The ATF, which traditionally regulates guns within the U.S., was jointly working with the State Department to regulate the U.S. Munitions Import List. But the agency has decided to turn over control of the import list to the State Department, which focuses more on keeping world peace and making sure the U.S. is secure.

"Controlling the permanent import of defense articles furthers United States foreign policy and national security interests and is a foreign affairs function of the U.S. government," the agency wrote.

The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 gave the federal government the authority to regulate weapons imports. In March 2013, President Obama gave the State Department joint authority with the ATF to regulate the U.S. Munitions Import List. But the ATF is now turning over that authority solely to the State Department.

The rule goes into effect in one month.

Air pollution: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing a study about its national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants.

The EPA proposed three national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants in January 2012. On Wednesday, the agency released a study about the effectiveness and results of these rules. 

The study includes residual risk and technology reviews, measures of the emissions during periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction, and revisions to require monitoring of pressure relief devices, among other things.

"The revisions to the final rules maintain the level of environmental protection or emissions control on sources regulated by these rules," the agency wrote.

Promise zones: The Education Department is moving forward with a plan to give financial assistance to so-called "Promise zones."

This final priority would allow the agency to give grants to these areas of financial need to assist them in establishing programs and projects for students.

The rule goes into effect in one month.

Closed captioning: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking further comment on a rule that would make television programs more accessible to deaf people by improving closed captioning rules.

The FCC will publish a further notice of proposed rulemaking in Thursday's Federal Register, giving the public 30 days to comment.