New regs for Thursday: Reclaiming government debts

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is adopting rules for collecting debts its employees owe the government. The new rule sets out procedures to offset salaries, garnish wages or set up administrative offsets. 

If a person owes the government money, the agency can withhold or offset wages or ask another agency to the same, or refer the matter to the Treasury Department. The bureau can also have the government offset all or part of a tax refund to get its money back.

"These regulations conform to requirements set forth in laws applicable to the collection of nontax debts owed to the United States," the agency said in its rule.

Toxic chemicals:
The Environmental Protection Agency is issuing its reasons for denying a 2011 petition from more than 100 environmental groups to require oil and gas companies to disclose and test the chemicals they use. 

The groups asked the agency to require safety studies and other testing, but the EPA denied part of that request because it was "overly broad, and they have not demonstrated that the broad rule they requested is necessary."

Part of the request is being granted however, which will allow the EPA to learn more about the chemicals that are used.

The EPA's decision was announced in 2011, but the new notice formalizes that response. 

Renewable fuel:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing its approval of crops for a renewable fuel program that environmental groups worry are invasive species.

The crops, giant reed and Napier grass, are not native to the U.S., and green groups have worried that they could spread and take over regions if they are promoted by the agency for the program. 

They will be used in the renewable fuel standard, a scheme that mixes biofuel with gasoline in an attempt to cut reliance on foreign oil and take advantage of new energy sources. 

The Post Service wants to require that commercial mail use a new type of packaging barcode, called Intelligent Mail

The EPA is proposing to push back the date of compliance for an Arizona power plant's retrofit to comply with emissions standards. 

Additionally, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is publishing a request to exempt a component from licensing rules. 

The Department of Education wants a technical assistance program to help elementary and secondary schools improve instruction, community and student well-being, and the school's fiscal health. 

The new priority is being announced as part of the department's Education Facilities Clearinghouse program.

Fishing regulators are allowing fishing for Atka mackerel in the Bering Sea and prohibiting retaining rockfish in an area off of Alaska. 

Regulators also want to partially reopen closed areas in the Northeastern U.S. for a limited time.