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New regs for Monday: Autopilot, animal food, pollution from military ships

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules the use of autopilots and portable oxygen devices on board aircraft, as well as rules for animal food and pollution from military ships.

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules on the use of autopilots and portable oxygen devices on board aircraft, as well as rules for animal food and pollution from military ships.

Here's what is happening:

Autopilot: The Federal Aviation Administration is updating a rule about the minimum altitude at which certain aircraft can use autopilots. The new rule also allows the use of advanced autopilot systems. The rules go into effect in two months.

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Heaters: The Environmental Protection Agency is considering expanding performance standards for residential wood heaters to also include new residential hydronic heaters, which use water to transfer heat, forced-air furnaces, and masonry heaters. The rules would only apply to new heaters being built, not existing ones that are already in use. 

The EPA called "particulate pollution" from wood heaters a significant problem. "Emissions from wood stoves occur near ground level in residential communities across the country, and setting these new requirements for cleaners stoves into the future will result in substantial reductions in exposure and improved public health," the agency wrote in the Federal Register. 

Portable oxygen devices: The Federal Aviation Administration is expanding a rule to allow travelers who have a difficult time breathing to use their portable oxygen concentrator devices on board aircraft. "Passengers will be able to carry these devices on board the aircraft and use them with the approval of the aircraft operator," the agency wrote. 

Animal food: The Food and Drug Administration is delaying a rule that would govern manufacturing practices for animal food. The new rules would establish good manufacturing practice requirements for the animal industry, which the human food industry already has. The FDA is extending the comment period through March.

Ships: The Department of Defense and Environmental Protection Agency are considering new pollution standards for military ships operating in the United States or territorial seas. "The proposed standards would reduce the adverse environmental impacts associated with the discharges, stimulate the development of improved pollution control devices, and advance the development of environmentally sound ships by the Armed Forces," the agencies wrote.