New regs for Thursday: Comment period reopens on big cats petition

Animals:
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reopening the comment period for a request that it restrict people from coming into contact with big cats, bears or monkeys.

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Animal welfare activists have urged the USDA to issue the rule, which would prevent the public from interacting with tiger cubs and other animals at traveling zoos and exhibitions. They say that the rule is necessary to keep big cats out of the hands of private owners and to protect the animals from abuse.

Additionally, the Fish and Wildlife Service wants to add the Poweshiek skipperling, a type of butterfly, to the Endangered Species List.

The agency is also proposing to declare another species of butterfly, the Dakota skipper, to be threatened, and trying to designate protected critical habitat for the butterflies.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is proposing to release an experimental population of protected salmon in a river that stretches along the U.S.-Canada border.

Plants:
The USDA is amending a rule on moving plants from areas that are quarantined for some plant diseases, asserting that some areas of Wisconsin are infested with gypsy moth and allowing imported fruits and vegetables to be treated upon arrival at an airport in Mascoutah, Ill.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that three plants that grow in South Florida should be declared endangered species.

Energy:
The Department of Energy is proposing to change its testing procedures for pool heaters and other heating equipment.

By law, the department is supposed to review its test procedure rules every 7 years to conserve energy and improve energy efficiency.

Housing:
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is issuing a rule to combine and streamline public housing programs.

The regulation expands the department's requirements for public housing authorities to submit needs assessments and makes changes to some funding schemes.

Additionally, the Farm Credit Administration is repealing mortgage rules for which the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was given authority by the Dodd-Frank Act. Repealing the rules eliminates duplication, the agency said in its notice.

Nuclear:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is updating its list of approved storage casks for spent nuclear fuel and proposing other changes to the list.

Postal:
The U.S. Postal Service is revising its manual for international mail to reflect price changes.