New regs for Wednesday: Housing, Yellowstone, cribs and more

Housing:
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will publish an amendment to rules for issuing mortgages.

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The original mortgage rule, published earlier this year, requires that some borrowers receive counseling before they agree to expensive mortgages and that they be given periodic statements and notices about their account. 

“The amendments clarify the specific disclosures that must be provided before counseling for high-cost mortgages can occur, and proper compliance regarding servicing requirements when a consumer is in bankruptcy or sends a cease communication request under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,” the bureau said in its 56-page amendment.

Additionally, the amendments allow for some exemptions to the rules for some servicers to allow for “additional analysis” about how they would apply.

Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is issuing a rule requiring Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 federal home loan banks to submit reports when they suspect fraud. 

Protected lands:
The Interior Department is revising the protected habitat area for three types of beetles that live in Texas. 

Additionally, the National Park Service is issuing new rules for accessing Yellowstone National Park in the winter. 

“This rule includes provisions that allow greater flexibility for commercial tour operators, provide mechanisms to make the park cleaner and quieter than what has been allowed during the previous four winter seasons, reward oversnow vehicle innovations and technologies, and allow increases in visitation,” the Park Service said.

The regulation also requires snowmobiles in the park to meet sound and air emission requirements.

Cribs: 
The Consumer Product Safety Commission will unveil safety standards for cradles and bassinets for babies younger than 5 months. 

The new rules were called for by a 2008 law that demanded safety standards for a range of consumer products and are similar to already existing voluntary industry standards.

According to the safety agency, they were developed after consultations with manufacturers, retailers, trade groups, safety advocates and members of the public.

Water:
The Energy Department is issuing new test procedures for showerheads, faucets and urinals. 

According to the department, the new procedures “primarily clarify” how the devices should be tested to make sure they meet current water conservation regulations.

It added that the department “is making these amendments to eliminate any potential ambiguity contained in these test procedures and clarify the regulatory text so that regulated entities fully understand the intended application and implementation of the test procedures.”

Additionally, the Energy Department is updating the language in some of its other rules on energy conservation to comply with a 2012 law. 

People with disabilities:
The Federal Communications Commission wants to change its standards for a service that deaf people use to communicate via the telephone by using a keyboard or other device.

The agency wants to permanently eliminate the standards for Internet-based services, for which it said the rules are “inapplicable to, or technologically infeasible." According to the FCC, those online services have previously been granted waivers exempting them from the minimum standards. 

Emissions:
The Federal Aviation Administration is making “technical changes” to a December rule on new emission standards for some airplane engines.

According to the FAA, the original rule “contained six minor technical errors” and are now being corrected. 

The agency is also responding to three comments it received on the regulation. 

Trade:
The Obama administration is temporarily amending rules to implement some provisions of the U.S.-Panama free trade agreement

Veterans:
The Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing to change the way a person can be designated to inherit a veteran’s money and property if they die in a field facility, to get rid of an “obsolete” form and clarify the role of a financial advisor. 

The VA is also looking to change rules for its pilot dental insurance program. 

Superfund:
The Environmental Protection Agency is taking a Niagara Falls, N.Y., Superfund site off of its national priorities list because “all appropriate response actions” have been completed, excepted for operation, maintenance and five-year reviews. 

Electricity:
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is finalizing a reliability standard for transmission planning. 

Agriculture:
The Department of Agriculture is decreasing the fee charged to kiwi handlers to fund a marketing order and increasing the fee for Washington apricots.

The USDA is also exempting white and yellow Irish Washington potatoes from minimum quality and inspection requirements through next June, and proposing to hike the assessment fee for dried prunes.

Fishing:
Commercial fishing regulators are allowing fishing for pollock in an area of the Gulf of Alaska, prohibiting vessels from fishing for Atlantic herring in one management area and issuing new rules for unintentionally harming marine mammals while a seawall is replaced in Seattle.