New regs for Tuesday: Airplanes, ship radar, gas pipelines

Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for child safety seats on airplanes, radar equipment on ships, and natural gas pipelines.

Here's what is happening:

Airplanes: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering new disclosure rules about child safety seats that airlines would have to comply with.

The FAA already has rules in place that govern the use of child safety seats on airplanes, but the new rules would require airlines to list the size of their seats on their website, so parents can determine whether their child safety seat would fit on the aircraft.

The airlines would specifically list the width of the seats on each airplane they operate.

"This rule would provide greater information to caregivers to help them determine whether a particular child restraint system will fit in an airplane seat," the agency wrote.

The public has three months to comment on the proposed rule.

Radio: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking to overhaul existing regulations for the radio and radar equipment on ships. 

"New technologies will be used to locate and rescue distressed ships and individuals in distress at sea or on land to provide better and more accurate data to rescue personnel," the agency wrote.

The rules would improve the radio capabilities of ships while they are at sea, so emergency rescue teams can more accurately respond when ships are under attack by pirates or if they are caught in a bad storm and sinking. They would apply to the radar equipment used on ships and portable marine Very High Frequency (VHF) transmitters used on shore. It would also allow VHF digital small message service.

The FCC says the rules would "better protect lives and property at sea."

The public has two months to comment on the proposed rule.

Pipelines: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is trying to better coordinate the use of natural gas pipelines with electric transmission operations to avoid scheduling conflicts.

FERC noted that natural gas is more often being used for electricity generation than it used to be, and therefore, the two industries need to work together to make sure the public need for both utilities is met.

"The differences between the nationwide natural gas scheduling timeline and the regional electric scheduling timelines can create complications for interstate pipelines and electric transmission operators in coordinating the scheduling of the two industries," the agency wrote.

The public and industry groups have until Nov. 28 to comment on the issue.

National security: The Department of Defense is moving forward with changes to the Personnel Security Program.

The rules establish who is eligible to hold a national security position, among other things.

The rule goes into effect in one month.

Energy: The Department of Energy is considering a rule that would allow it to withhold a portion of the payment owed to certain under-performing contractors.

The Energy Department would redefine its acquisition regulations to account for "deficiencies" in a contractor's business system, which includes an accounting system, estimating system, purchasing system, earned value management system, and property management system.

The public has two months to comment on the proposed rule.

Endangered species: The Fish and Wildlife Service is removing the island night lizard from the list of endangered and threatened species, the agency announced Monday.

The agency estimates there are more than 21 million island night lizards on San Clemente Island in California, as well as tens of thousands more on a couple other California islands.

"Threats to the island night lizard have been largely ameliorated," the agency wrote.