New regs for Tuesday: Agencies on the move

Federal agencies are set to issue 187 new regulations, proposed rules and other administrative actions in Tuesday’s edition of the Federal Register, with a host of rules targeting the movement of goods and people.

Highlights include:

Trucker coercion: The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing regulations to prohibit companies in the trucking industry from coercing big-rig drivers into violating new hours-of-service limits enacted last year.

Industry groups opposed the limits, saying they could cripple business and slow the flow of interstate commerce. The draft rules would impose new penalties on firms that encourage truckers to break the rules, and a system under which drivers could report bad actors.

Tank cars: Responding to a series of accidents across the northwest and Canada, the DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is publishing guidance announced last week for tank cars used to ship crude oil.

The recommendations for firms to use newer cars applies to trains carrying more than 1 million gallons of oil — which would fill about 35 tank cars — from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, Montana and Canada. Railroads should use the most advanced tankers in their fleets for those shipments and avoid using legacy cars from the DOT 111 standard.

Business travel: The Department of Homeland Security is establishing a new program allowing U.S. travelers headed to Asia for business to speed more quickly through airports.

The U.S. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card Program includes 21 member-nations, including the United States, and is designed to foster “sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region,” according to an interim final rule set for publication.

Under the program, qualified U.S. business travelers engaged in business in the APEC region or U.S. Government officials actively engaged in APEC can use fast-track immigration lanes at participating airports. The rule lays out the program’s parameters, who is eligible and application procedures.

Spacecraft exports: The State Department's historic overhaul of the nation’s Cold War -era export regulations is taking another step forward, with the re-designation of spacecraft and related items on federal control lists.

The process involves loosening export restrictions for thousands of items that were once deemed sensitive but are no longer viewed as such.

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