New regs for Thursday: Walk-in freezers, Syrian sanctions, broadcasters

Thursday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for walk-in freezers, workplace health and safety investigations, sanctions on Syria, and broadcasters.

Here's what is happening:

Walk-in freezers: The Department of Energy is delaying new energy efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers.


The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is extending the comment period for an additional 15 days on the rule it proposed in February to give the public more time to comment.

The proposed rules would establish alternative compliance and reporting standards to improve energy conservation for walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers. They would also modify test procedures for the defrost setting and fan speed, among other things.

Specifically, the agency is considering whether to allow a computer-based system known as the “alternative efficiency determination method” to certify large coolers and freezers are meeting energy standards. 

The method is less costly than manual testing.

Workplace investigations: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is withdrawing changes to rule that governs workplace safety and health investigations, because it overlaps with another agency rule.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an HHS branch, published a similar rule in January.

The NIOSH version of the rule will go into effect on April 16.

Syrian sanctions: The Obama administration is reissuing sanctions against Syria in the midst of the country's civil war.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced Wednesday it is updating the sanctions, which include blocks on exporting to or importing from Syria, among other things.

The rules changes account for new general licenses the government is including.

The rule goes into effect immediately.

Broadcast: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering getting rid of certain broadcast rules that it believes are out-dated.

The FCC announced Wednesday it is seeking public comment on a plan to eliminate network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules that were used to protect broadcasters from having their programming rebroadcast locally.

The public has 30 days to comment on the proposed rule.

Transportation: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is rescinding an emergency regulation exemption that allowed commercial motor vehicle operators to deliver propane and other home heating fuels.

The FMCSA has determined that emergency circumstances no longer exist, and therefore the exemption is not necessary.