New regs for Friday: Indian reservations, beryllium, salamanders

Thursday’s edition of the Federal Register contains a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency for Indian tribes that want to regulate water on their reservations, new standards for workplace exposure to beryllium from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and an endangered species designation for the Georgetown salamander.

Here’s what to look for:

Indian tribes: The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a rule to streamline how Indian tribes apply to be treated in a manner similar to states under the Clean Water Act.

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In it’s rulemaking, the agency said waters on the majority of Indian reservations do not have water quality standards under the Clean Water Act to protect human health and the environment.

Only 40 of over 300 federally recognized tribes with reservations have completed the process of obtaining EPA’s approval to be treated in a manner similar to a state (TAS) and adopted standards for their waters that the EPA has approved.

The rule would give tribes the authority to administer regulatory programs over their entire reservation.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Beryllium: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a new rule to lower workers’ exposure to beryllium.

The proposed rule would lower OSHA’s current eight-hour permissible exposure limit for beryllium from 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter.

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The proposed standard would require employers to implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce employees’ exposures to the brittle, gray-steel metal that causes a deadly lung disease.

OSHA expects the rule to cost anywhere from $37.6 million to $39.1 million a year. The net benefits are expected to range from $255 million to $576 million a year. But OSHA said the courts have ruled that it may not use benefit-cost analysis as a basis for setting OSHA health standards.

The public has 90 days to comment on the rule.

Salamander: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is issuing a final rule to list the Georgetown salamander as an threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

The rule will allow the fish and wildlife service to work with community and state agencies on efforts to conserve the aquatic salamander, which is found in Texas.

The agency said the rule is necessary to strengthen water quality protection measures throughout the species’ range. The rule will take effect in 30 days.