New regs for Monday: Ocean dumping, eyelid weights, refrigerators

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for ocean dumping, eyelid devices, and refrigerators. Here's what is happening:

Ocean dumping: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a rule that would tighten restrictions on ocean dumping in certain areas, the agency announced Friday.

The EPA would like to remove two sites — one in the Gulf of Mexico near the Houma Navigational Canal and other near the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Canal in Louisiana — from its list of approved ocean dumping spots, because they are no longer needed, the agency said.

Ocean dumping, or dredging, is an excavation process in which sediments are removed from the bottom of a waterway to keep the waterways navigable for ships and disposed of elsewhere.

"This proposed action is being taken because there is no clear future need for the sites," the agency wrote.

The public has 45 days to comment.

Refrigerators: The Energy Department is moving forward with new energy conservation rules for refrigerators, commercial refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers and freezers. 

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's handed out two new rule-makings Friday addressing each of these devices. The new rules include testing and labeling requirements that reflect the energy efficiency, energy use, and estimated annual operating costs of these refrigerators and freezers.

Refrigerators are a part of an overhaul to the Energy Department's conservation standards that also includes appliances such as commercial heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and water heating equipment. 

The goal of the new rules is to make sure manufacturers are accurately representing the energy conservation information they share with the government and public. 

The Energy Department, which originally proposed the changes last year, is now moving forward with both rules, which go into effect in 30 days.

Cargo: The Labor Department is moving forward with new rules for cargo handling on ships, the agency announced Friday.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is making court-ordered changes to its standard for vertical tandem lifts to ensure the smoother transportation of cargo on ships.

Waters: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps are teaming up on new regulations that would expand the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act. 

The proposed rules comes in response to several recent Supreme Court decisions. They would enhance the protections for the nation's waters and public health, the agencies wrote. 

The public has 90 days to comment on the proposed rule.

Eyes: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is loosening the rules on certain eyelid weights that are used to help people who have trouble shutting their eyes by themselves.  

The manufacturers of external eyelid weights will no longer be required to receive premarket approval from the FDA, but will still face less stringent regulations. But the makers of weights that are implanted in the eyelids will still be required to go through this process.

Eyelid weights help people shut their eyes by applying downward pressure to the eyelids. These devices are used to treat a condition known as lagophthalmos, that causes people to struggle to close their eyes. This can cause health problems, because blinking cleans the eye. 

The rule goes into effect in 90 days.