New regs for Wednesday: DHS extending immigration zone

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is publishing its amendments to rules that require a mortgage lender to determine whether a consumer has the ability to repay a loan. 

The new measures, which were announced in May, ease the restrictions for smaller financial institutions, nonprofits and loans made under emergency stabilization programs. 

Credit unions and small banks have argued that some loans could fall outside the previous requirements of the law, despite the institutions' conservative practices, cutting out some borrowers. The banking industry cheered the amendments when they were announced last month.

The regulations are mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. They go into effect next year.

The Department of Education is creating a committee to develop regulations for the federal student aid program. The department's rules would set standards for pre-professional programs. 

In the department's proposal, it asks for public nominations of committee members who "represent key stakeholder constituencies for the issue," including students, legal aid groups, consumer organizations and state officials, among others. Nominations must be submitted in the next 30 days.

Energy and environment:
The Energy Department wants to amend its acquisition regulations to set requirements for its contracts to be compliant with export control laws. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is eliminating limits on residues of a chemical when used as an inactive ingredient in solvents or pesticides and another when used to build plant resistance. 

The EPA is also proposing to make permanent an interim limit for tolerances of the insect killer tetrachlorvinphos. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is proposing to list all chimpanzees, including those in captivity, as endangered. Animal rights activists had been expecting the rule change. 

The FWS is also finalizing rules that allow for a small number of walruses and polar bears in the Pacific to be unintentionally affected by oil and gas exploration, and updating the names and address of its regional offices

The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether its requirements on some telecommunications carriers help encourage anticompetitive behavior. 

Food and drugs:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is changing its rules on color additives in distilled spirits. The rule was requested by the E. & J. Gallo Winery and will allow pigments made from titanium dioxide and mica to be used.

The pigments are currently permitted as color additives in cereal, confections, candies and other products.

They can now be added to spirits that are between 18 and 23 percent alcohol by volume.

The FDA is also making "minor improvements" to 1992 requirements on drugs developed specifically for rare medical conditions and trying to reclassify wheelchairs that climb stairs. 

A list of pathogens that could pose a serious threat to the public should be developed, the FDA claims, to encourage the development of new drugs. 

The National Marine Fisheries Service is changing its rules for catching salmon along the U.S.-Canada border and proposing to control lobster trap fishing off of Cape Cod, Mass., and southern New England. 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is setting up a committee to develop changes to a grant program for Native American housing. 

-- This story was updated at 12:45 p.m.