New regs for Friday: Cleaning up the Gulf Coast

Agent Orange:
The Department of Veterans Affairs is updating its rules for former members of the military who contract diseases after being exposed to herbicides like Agent Orange.

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The new regulation changes terms for determining when veterans’ illnesses are associated with exposure to the chemicals, and clarify that the department will not deny benefits to people with conditions that last for more than two years after they were last exposed to the substance. 

Discrimination:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces anti-discrimination laws, is adding a note to its regulations about its determinations that state and local agencies have enforcement power.

The footnote will declare that those designations are based on available information at the time and are subject to changes in state or local law. 

Hazardous materials:
The Coast Guard is changing its rules for transferring hazardous materials to and from packaging on vessels.

The agency is expanding the number of approved bulk packaging and types of hazardous materials which it said in the rule will “provide greater flexibility in the selection and use of packaging in the transportation of hazardous materials.” 

Additionally, the Transportation Department is considering changing rules for moving hazardous materials by rail

Flight:
The Federal Aviation Administration is extending the comment period for a proposal to let pilots use an enhanced vision system during landings. 

Taxes:
As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the IRS is removing any references to “credit ratings” in its regulations and substituting other standards to ensure that securities and financial products are credit worthy.

Additionally, the IRS is proposing to change the way it treats spending on research

Social Security:
The Social Security Administration is extending the expiration date for some disabilities for which it pays benefits. 

Pesticides:
The Environmental Protection Agency has sent a draft rule on new procedures and information requirements about pesticides to the UDSA. Once the USDA signs off on the rule, the EPA will release it to the public. 

Food coloring:
The Food and Drug Administration is confirming that new rules on color additives took effect on July 15. After approving the new coloring in June, the agency asked the public to weigh in with any protests or requests, but received none. 

Exports:
The Commerce Department has designated a new Chinese company that Americans firms will be able to export to without obtaining individual export licenses.