New regs for Tuesday: Efficiency standards, railroad reporting requirements, disability payments

Tuesday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new efficiency standards for home heating equipment, pool heaters, and fluorescent lamps, reporting requirements for railroads that cross streets and pedestrian walkways, and performance standards for railroads.

Here’s what is happening:

Efficiency: The Department of Energy is moving forward with new efficiency rules for heating equipment.

The efficiency rules from the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would establish new test procedures for vented home heating equipment and pool heaters.

Manufacturers will have six months to comply with the rule.

Lights: The Department of Energy is considering new efficiency rules for fluorescent lamp ballasts.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy proposed Monday changes to the energy conservation standards and test procedures for fluorescent lamps.

This is what the DOE uses to evaluate compliance with efficiency standards.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Trains: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is establishing new reporting requirements for railroads that cross roads and pedestrian walkways.

These railroads would be required to report information about the warning devices and signs they post to direct the flow of traffic at intersections where trains cross highways, roads, streets, private roadways, sidewalks, and pathways. 

They would also required to report crossing sales, closures, and any other changes.

The FRA estimates the changes will cost industry more than $2 million over 20 years.

The new rules go into effect in 60 days. The FRA estimates that half of all railroads already comply with the rule.

Railroads: In a separate rulemaking, the Surface Transportation Board is considering new requirements for certain railroads to report performance results on a weekly basis.

The proposed rules come in response to recent service problems that have affected a wide range of industries that ship commodities like grain, fertilizer, coal, and oil in trains.

The changes are aimed at ensuring better rail service, the agency noted.

The public has until March 2 to comment.

Disability payments: The Social Security Administration is moving forward with rules for non-attorneys who represent disability applicants.

The agency announced Monday it is finalizing direct fee payment rules for these representatives that had already existed on an interim basis since 2011.

The final rules go into effect in 30 days.


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