New regs for Thursday: Gypsy moths, efficiency, truck drivers

Thursday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for reviewing truckers' driving records, preventing the spread of gypsy moths and energy conservation standards for residential furnaces.

Here's what is happening:

Efficiency: The Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing new energy conservation standards for residential furnaces.

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The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy proposed Wednesday to establish new efficiency rules for  residential non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home furnaces.

The DOE estimates the new energy conservation standards could cost industry $55 million to comply with.

The public has 90 days to comment.

Electronic communications: The Department of Labor is moving forward with new rules for electronic communications.

The Labor Department's Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs issued a direct final rule Wednesday that allows certain companies to communicate electronically with the agency, rather than by mail.

The changes apply to parties to claims from the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

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"As technologies improve, other means of communication — including electronic methods — may be more efficient and cost-effective," the agency wrote.

The changes go into effect in 90 days.

Truck drivers: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is moving forward with new recommendations for trucking companies reviewing the driving records of their employees.

The FMCSA released new guidance Wednesday on trucking companies' use of state-operated employer notification systems, which track a driver's license status, crashes and convictions.

Trucking companies are already required to review their drivers' records each year, but the new guidance will allow them to do so through these state-operated employer notification systems.

The changes go into effect immediately.

Moths: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving forward with new regulations to prevent the spread of dangerous gypsy moths.

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced Wednesday new partial quarantines in areas of Virginia, West Virginia, Minnesota and Wisconsin that will restrict the interstate movement of certain items.

The USDA called the gypsy moth a "destructive pest" that can wreak havoc on forests and Christmas trees.

The restrictions go into effect immediately.