Agency Rulemaking Highlights
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is requesting comments on proposed guidance for assessing changes in environmental and ecosystem services in benefit-cost analysis. Many benefit-cost analyses involve ecosystem services, and the proposal seeks to standardize guidance on how to assess relevant changes and how to value such services to promote consistency and predictability in these analyses. The guidance also aims to make incorporating ecosystem-service considerations easier for agencies, resulting in lower analytic burdens for agencies and more sound analysis. Comments due September 18.
The Council on Environmental Quality is proposing this “Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule” to revise its regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. The proposal aims for an effective environmental review process that promotes full and fair public involvement; an efficient process and regulatory certainty; and sound decision making grounded in science, including consideration of relevant environmental, climate change, and environmental justice effects. Comments due September 29.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing new fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years (MYs) 2027-31 that increase at a rate of 2 percent per year for passenger cars and 4 percent per year for light trucks. The proposal also includes new fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans for MYs 2030-2035 that increase at a rate of 10 percent per year. NHTSA currently projects that the proposed standards would require an industry fleet-wide average for passenger cars and light trucks of roughly 58 miles per gallon in MY 2032. Comments due 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.
In response to comments received from a related notice of proposed rulemaking, the Federal Trade Commission is proposing this trade regulation rule to prohibit certain unfair or deceptive acts or practices involving consumer reviews or testimonials. Comments due September 29.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Integrated Iron and Steel Manufacturing Facilities, in order to regulate emissions from five unmeasured fugitive and intermittent particulate sources that are currently not regulated by the NESHAP: Bell Leaks, Unplanned Bleeder Valve Openings, Planned Bleeder Valve Openings, Slag Pits, and Beaching. Comments due September 14.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is issuing a final rule intended to improve the accessibility of lavatories on single-aisle aircraft to ensure that the air transportation system is safe and accessible to individuals with disabilities. Effective October 2.
To address childhood lead exposure and particularly for communities with environmental justice concerns, EPA is proposing to lower the dust-lead hazard standards from 10 micrograms per square foot (µg/ft2) for floors and 100 µg/ft2 for window sills to any reportable level of dust-lead. The proposal also seeks to lower the dust-lead clearance levels used to determine when abatement work can be considered complete. Comments due October 2.
Medicare Program Changes
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule updating the prospective payment rates for inpatient rehabilitation facilities for fiscal year 2024. Another CMS final rule updates the hospice wage index, payment rates, and aggregate cap amount for FY2024. Both are effective October 1.
CMS is proposing changes to the amounts and factors used to determine the payment rates for Medicare services paid under the hospital outpatient prospective payment system and those paid under the ambulatory surgical center payment system for calendar year 2024. Comments due September 11.
President Biden signed Executive Order 14104 directing the government to spur economic growth and job creation through the use of domestic manufacturing for all products and innovations developed with federal support and investment. The policy is intended to ensure that taxpayer investment in federal research and development will benefit U.S. communities, workers, and national security. The order further aims to support critical supply chains and net-zero emissions goals.