New regs for Monday: fireplaces, electronic exports, dolphins and sea turtles

Monday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new rules from the Department of Energy for gas-fired fireplaces, a new electronic filing system for export information from the Census Bureau and new rules from the Department of Commerce for commercial fishermen to better protect dolphins and sea turtles.

Here’s what is happening:

Gas-fired fireplaces: The Department of Energy is considering adopting conservation standards for gas-fired hearth products.


The agency considers a hearth product any gas-fired appliance that simulates a solid-fueled fireplace or presents a flame pattern for aesthetics or other purposes and may provide heat to the space in which it is installed. 

The rule would require manufacturers to follow a prescriptive design that would reduce the energy consumer of the hearth product when it’s in standby mode, defined as connected to the power source and able to be activated by a remote switch, internal sensor or timer.

The proposed rule would apply to hearth produces manufactured in and exported to the U.S. five years after the final rule is published in the Federal Register.

A public meeting to discuss the proposed rule will be held on March 23 in Washington. The public has 60 days to comment. 

Electronic export system: The Census Bureau is moving forward with changes to the foreign trade regulation. The bureau has created an International Trade Data System (ITDS) to keep an electronic record of export information. The system was created to eliminate redundant information requirements, efficiently regulate the flow of commerce, effectively enforce laws and regulations relating to international trade by establishing a single portal system for the collection and distribution of standard electronic import and export data.

The final rule will take effect on Monday.

Dolphins and Sea turtles: The Department of Commerce is considering new rules for pound nets — offshore mesh netting used by commercial fishermen — under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to better protect bottlenose dolphins and sea turtles, which often get tangled in the nets.

The rule requires commercial fishermen to go through a one-time compliance training before setting their fishing nets and requires that fishermen monitor their nets.

The public has 30 days to comment.