New regs for Wednesday: Nukes, space station, gout

Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for environmental reviews at nuclear power plants, satellite communications on space and earth stations, endangered fish, and the diagnosis of gout.

Here's what is happening:

Environmental review: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering changes to its environmental regulations, the agency announced Tuesday.


The changes would affect the environmental review process at several branches of the USDA, including the Farm Service Agency, Rural Housing Service, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service, and Commodity Credit Corporation.

The public has 90 days to comment.

Nuclear: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is moving forward with new environmental recommendations for the construction of new nuclear plants, the agency said Tuesday.

The NRC is releasing a guidance document that clarifies the steps that should be taken when looking at the impact new nuclear facilities will have on greenhouse gas and climate change, socioeconomics, environmental justice, and need for power, among other things.

The guidance goes into effect in 30 days.

Satellite: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is moving forward with changes to the licensing requirements for satellite communication services on space stations and earth stations, the agency announced Tuesday.

The changes go into effect immediately.

Endangered: Federal regulators are considering new protections for the orange clownfish, which is popular in many aquariums.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Tuesday they are considering adding it to the list of endangered species.

However, the agencies have decided not to offer the same protections to a handful of other Indo-Pacific reef fish, because it does not believe they are endangered. Those include the Hawaiian dascyllus, reticulated damselfish, blue-eyed damselfish, black-axil chromis, blue-green damselfish, and blackbar devil.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Gout: The Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS) is reviewing how doctors diagnose gout, a form of arthritis that is often treated with medical marijuana.

HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced Tuesday that it is looking for scientific information to help it determine the accuracy of clinical signs and symptoms of gout.

The public has 30 days to comment.