New regs for Friday: E-cigs, clothes washers, organic farmer, killer whales


Friday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for electronic cigarettes, washing machines, organic farming, and international money transfers.

Here's what is happening:

E-cigarettes: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering new rules for electronic cigarettes. 

The FDA announced Thursday it is looking to regulate e-cigarettes under the same rules that already apply to other tobacco products such as traditional cigarettes. 

The FDA expressed concerns that e-cigarettes are being marketed to children and teenagers as products that are safer than other tobacco products. But the new rules would ban sales to people under the age of 18, and would prevent manufacturers from marketing their products to children and teenagers. 

The public has 75 days to comment on the proposed rules.

Washing machines: The Department of Energy is considering new energy efficiency rules for residential clothes washers. 

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy proposed a rule on Thursday that would establish new test procedures for consumer washing machines under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

The test results would measure energy efficiency, energy use, and the estimated annual operating cost of these washing machines.  

Clothes washers are the latest home appliance the Energy Department is looking at in an overhaul of the agency's conservation standards that also includes such products as refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners.

The public has 75 days to comment.

Organic: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving forward with new guidelines for organic farming.

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service released a draft guidance Thursday from the agency's National Organic Program, which clarifies which substances may be used in post-harvest activities, among other things. 

"This draft guidance describes the National Organic Program's current thinking on the allowance of substances used in post-harvest handling activities such as washing, packing, and storage of organic products," the agency wrote.

Money wires: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is looking to extend a rule for international money transfers that would otherwise expire next year.

The rule allows insured banks to estimate certain price disclosures for remittance transfers, also known as international money transfers. It is scheduled to expire in July 2015, but that would make it difficult for banks to transfer money overseas. So the CFPB is proposing to extend the rule by another five years. 

The public has 30 days to comment on the proposed rule.

Recordings: The Library of Congress's Copyright Royalty Board is moving forward with new rules for the royalties of digital sound recordings. 

The new rules, which go into effect immediately establish royalty rates for sound recordings and ephemeral recordings.

Killer whales: The National Marine Fisheries Service is considering extending the critical habitat for killer whales along on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. 

Under the Endangered Species Act, the Southern Resident killer whale has already been given a critical habitat near Washington state, but this rule would extend that to include more waters along the Pacific. 

The public has 90 days to comment.