New regs for Tuesday: CDC cancels Ebola response grants

Tuesday’s edition of the Federal Register will contain 185 new regulatory actions, ranging from efforts to protect the citizenry from radioactive waste to steps designed to make the rule-making process easier to follow.

Agencies are also announcing some actions to be published later in the week.

Here are some highlights:

Ebola funding: The Obama administration is canceling plans to dole out as much as $2 million as part of a global effort to halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week began soliciting applications for the grant funding from “eligible Ministries of Health and their bona fide agents.”

The funding proposed by the CDC was meant to target impacted countries in West Africa, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Gambia, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Benin and Nigeria.

But the agency is now canceling the funding availability, according to a notice issued Monday (though it is not scheduled to be published until Wednesday).

The CDC offered no explanation for the decision but said the “notice of intent to award funding will be re-advertised at a later date.”

Nuclear waste: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is weighing an industry petition to ease some security regulations meant to protect against the “theft or diversion” of radioactive material.

The June appeal from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) asks the agency to amend its regulations to “remove unnecessary and burdensome requirements on licensees with established physical security programs.”

The NEI is arguing for expanded exemptions to the regulations for facilities that can demonstrate they already gave robust security systems and protocol in place.

Rule-making rules: The government entity that oversees the Federal Register is proposing to update its own rules to catch up with technological advances and making the document amore accessible to the general public.

The Register, laced with bureaucratic jargon and filled with all manner of rule-making notices, rules and proposals, would be restructured under the plan, unveiled by the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register.

Many of the draft provisions are technical in nature and include a greater acknowledgment of readers who review the Register online.

“This proposal would also revise the regulatory text to make it more readable and consistent with plain language principles,” the committee said.  “This action does not represent an increase in the burdens on agencies or the public.”