New regs for Wednesday: Pesticide, Yemen and eBay

Wednesday’s installment of the Federal Register will contain 189 new regulations, proposed rules and other administrative actions, as agencies grapple with everything from antitrust issues in Silicon Valley to pesticide concerns on farms.

Some highlights:

Pesticide rule: The Environmental Protection Agency is extending the public comment period for forthcoming regulations meant to safeguard the nation’s millions of agricultural workers against pesticide poisoning.

The EPA rule was unveiled in February and would establish mandatory annual training regulations, additional requirements for the posting of “no entry” signs and buffer areas around treated fields. It would also prohibit the handling of pesticides by children under the age of 16.

Government data shows that between 10,000 and 20,000 workers suffer from pesticide poisoning each year, leading to hospital visits, sick days and lost wages.

Published in March, the regulation was accompanied by an initial 90-day public comment period. A notice to appear in Wednesday’s edition of the Register moves the deadline back 60 days, from June 17 to August 18 “to provide additional time for commenters to prepare their responses,” the agency said.

Emission controls: The EPA is also proposing a rule governing the measurement of hydrogen chloride (HCl) emissions at industrial plants.

The draft regulation follows the EPA’s Portland Cement Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) air quality rules, enacted last year.

The regulations unveiled this week set forth specifications and quality control steps to measure low levels of HCl specified in those rules.

Yemen emergency: President Obama is formally extending his 2012 emergency declaration for Yemen, a move that allows the United States greater flexibility to address unrest in the nation.

“The actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Yemen and others in threatening Yemen's peace, security, and stability continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” according to a memo issued by the president.

Tech “poaching”: The Justice Department’s antitrust division is publishing the terms of its settlement with eBay over allegations that the Silicon Valley Internet giant engaged in wrongful agreements with competitors.

The DOJ and the state of California accused eBay officials, including former CEO and GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, of entering into agreements whereby the company agreed not to recruit or hire employees at the firm Intuit.

“This agreement harmed employees by lowering the salaries and benefits they might otherwise have commanded, and deprived these employees of better job opportunities at the other company,” the agency said in its settlement agreement. 

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