Energy

NHTSA Comment Deadline: Temporary Exemption for an Electric Vehicle With an Automated Driving System

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announces a forthcoming comment deadline regarding the receipt of a petition from Nuro for a temporary exemption for an electric vehicle with an automated driving system. 

Nuro, Inc. has petitioned NHTSA for a temporary exemption from certain requirements in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 500, which establishes standards for “Low-speed vehicles,” on the basis that an exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle easier without unreasonably lowering the safety of that vehicle. The vehicle for which Nuro requests an exemption is a low-speed, highly automated delivery vehicle intended to be operated without any human occupants and thus designed without any seating. Specifically, Nuro requests exemptions from the requirements in FMVSS No. 500 that its vehicle be equipped with rearview mirrors, a windshield that complies with FMVSS No. 205, and a rear visibility (backup camera) system that complies with FMVSS No. 111. Nuro states that the absence of human occupants, combined with the vehicle's various safety design features, including the vehicle's Automated Driving System (ADS), make compliance with these provisions of FMVSS No. 500 either unnecessary for, or detrimental to, the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

NHTSA is publishing this document in accordance with statutory and administrative provisions, and requests comments on this document and the petition submitted by Nuro. NHTSA will assess the merits of the petition and decide whether to grant or deny it after receiving and considering the public comments on this notice, the petition, public responses to the questions in this notice and such additional information as Nuro may provide.

Comments on this petition may be submitted via fax, mail, or through this portal. For more information regarding the comment submission process and the petition itself, please see this Federal Register notice.

NHTSA Comment Deadline: Temporary Exemption From Various Requirements of the Safety Standards for an All-Electric Vehicle With an Automated Driving System

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announces a comment period regarding a receipt of petition from General Motors for a temporary exemption from various requirements of the safety standards for an all-electric vehicle with an automated driving system.

In accordance with the procedures in the Temporary Exemption from Motor Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, General Motors, LLC, (GM) has applied for a temporary exemption for its driverless “Zero-Emission Autonomous Vehicle” (ZEAV), an all-electric vehicle with an Automated Driving System (ADS), from part of each of 16 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The ZEAVs would not be equipped with a steering wheel, manually-operated gear selection mechanism, or foot pedals for braking and accelerating. If the requested exemption were granted, GM would use the ZEAVs to provide on-demand mobility services in GM-controlled fleets.

GM requests the exemption be granted on either or both of two statutory bases: That it would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a level of safety at least equal to those of FMVSS from which exemption is requested, or that it would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle without unreasonably lowering the safety performance of the vehicle.

NHTSA seeks comment on the merits of and most appropriate statutory basis for GM's exemption petition and whether the petition satisfies the substantive requirements for an exemption.

Comments on this petition may be submitted via fax, mail, or through this portal. For more information on the process and the petition itself, please see this Federal Register notice.

CDC Comment Deadline: Mining Automation and Safety Research Prioritization

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently established a research program to address the rapidly expanding area of automation and associated technologies in mining. NIOSH is requesting information to inform the prioritization of research to be undertaken by the institute's Mining Program. NIOSH is seeking input on priority gaps in knowledge regarding the safety and health implications of humans working with automated equipment and associated technologies in mining, with an emphasis on worker safety and health research in which NIOSH has the comparative advantage, and is unlikely to be undertaken by other federal agencies, academia, or the private sector.

The mining industry has been undergoing significant changes as companies look to adopt automation technologies to decrease costs and increase efficiency and, according to some companies, improve safety. These new technologies include automated mobile equipment, robotics, teleoperation, wireless communications and sensing systems, wearable sensors and computers, virtual and augmented reality, and data analytics. Surface iron ore mines in Western Australia are moving rapidly to adopt automation technologies, and they appear to be the closest in achieving completely autonomous mining. In U.S. mines, the adoption of automation technology is gaining momentum, with some of the first automation having been applied to processing facilities, drilling equipment, underground coal mine longwalls, and now pilot projects with automated haulage trucks and loaders.

To prepare for expanded use of automation technologies, NIOSH seeks to both proactively address worker health and safety challenges that may be associated with automation, as well as leverage new technologies to improve miner health and safety. To understand the state of automation technologies, their implementation in the United States, and the health and safety concerns associated with the technology, NIOSH seeks public input on the following questions:

  1. To what extent will automation and associated technologies be implemented in mining and in what timeframe?
  2. What are the related health and safety concerns with automation and associated technologies in mining?
  3. What gaps exist in occupational health and safety research related to automation and associated technologies?

While the above questions have priority, NIOSH also seeks public comment on the state of the technology and the health and safety concerns associated with the following specific topics related to automation:

  1. What are the major safety concerns associated with humans working near or interacting with automated mining equipment? Have other organizations addressed the safety concerns associated with humans working near or interacting with automated mining equipment? If yes, please provide a description.
  2. What research has been conducted, or approaches taken, to address the potential for human cognitive processing confusion, misunderstanding, and task or information overload associated with monitoring or controlling automated mining equipment or other monitoring systems (e.g., fleet management, environmental monitoring, safety systems, health care systems)?
  3. What is the state of the art for display methodologies and technologies to provide mine personnel and equipment operators with information on operational status, location, and sensory and environmental feedback from automated mining equipment or systems?
  4. What sensor technology improvements are needed to ensure the safety of humans working on or near automated equipment?
  5. How are existing methods of big data analytics applied to automated mining equipment or systems? Are there health and safety benefits to these applications? If yes, please describe.
  6. Are there any needed improvements to guidelines or industry standards for automated mining system safe design and operation practices? If yes, please describe.
  7. Are there any needed improvements to training materials, training protocols, and operating procedures for system safety design principles related to automated mining systems? If yes, please describe.

NIOSH is seeking feedback on the research areas identified above and on any additional knowledge gaps, ideas, innovations, or practice improvements not addressed by these research areas, as well as feedback on how the research areas should be prioritized. NIOSH is especially interested in any creative and new ideas as they relate to protecting the health and safety of miners today and in the future. When possible, NIOSH asks that commenters provide data and citations of relevant research to justify their comments. NIOSH is also seeking key scientific articles addressing worker safety and health related to mining automation that could inform our research activities.

Comments may be submitted via this portal or by mail. For more information regarding this comment deadline, please see this Federal Register notice.

DOE Comment Deadline: Proposed Updates to the Procedures, Interpretations, and Policies for Consideration of New or Revised Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Products Rule

Update: On April 2, 2019 (84 FR 12527), the DOE extended the comment deadline from April 15, 2019, to May 6, 2019.

The Department of Energy (DOE) proposes to update and modernize the Department's current rulemaking methodology titled “Procedures, Interpretations, and Policies for Consideration of New or Revised Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Products” (“Process Rule”). In overview, in this document, DOE is proposing to clarify that the Process Rule applies to the establishment of new or revised energy conservation standards and test procedures for both consumer products and commercial/industrial equipment.

This proposed rule would make the specified rulemaking procedures binding on DOE, and it would also revise language in certain provisions to make it consistent with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (“EPCA”), as amended, and other applicable law. It also proposes to expand early opportunities for public input on the Appliance Program's priority setting and rulemaking activities, to define a significant energy savings threshold for updating energy conservation standards, to commit to publishing final test procedures at least 180 days in advance of a standards proposal, and to delineate procedures for rulemaking under the separate direct final rule and negotiated rulemaking authorities, among other issues. DOE may consider additional changes to the Process Rule in a future proceeding.

Members of the public may submit comments online at Regulations.gov or by mail or email. More information is available at this Federal Register notice.

DOE Comment Deadline: Energy Conservation Standards for General Service Lamps

Update: On April 2, 2019 (84 FR 12143), the DOE extended the comment deadline from April 12, 2019, to May 3, 2019.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) published two final rules adopting revised definitions of general service lamp (GSL), general service incandescent lamp (GSIL) and other supplemental definitions, effective January 1, 2020 and is seeking public comment. DOE has since determined that the legal basis underlying those revisions misconstrued existing law. As a result, DOE is issuing this notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) proposing to withdraw the definitions established in the January 19, 2017, final rules.

DOE proposes to maintain the existing regulatory definitions of GSL and GSIL. This proposal would maintain the existing definitions of GSL and GSIL currently found in DOE's regulations, which are the same as the statutory definition of those terms. Specifically, the proposed withdrawal would maintain the statutory exclusions of specified lamps from the definition of GSIL, and thus, such lamps would not be GSLs.

Members of the public may submit comments by mail, fax, or at Regulations.gov. More information is available at this Federal Register notice.

NRC Comment Deadline: Ground Water Protection at Uranium In Situ Recovery Facilities

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is requesting views from interested stakeholders on whether the NRC should resume rulemaking to amend its regulations governing the domestic licensing of source material by codifying general requirements to address ground water protection at uranium in situ recovery (ISR) facilities. The NRC currently regulates ISR operations through application of regulations that primarily focus on conventional uranium mills and site-specific license conditions.

The NRC initiated rulemaking in 2006 to develop requirements to provide regulatory consistency and improve the efficiency of the ISR licensing process but placed this rulemaking on hold in 2010. Information provided to the NRC during the public comment period will be factored into the decision as to whether the NRC will continue this rulemaking.

Members of the public may submit comments online at Regulations.gov or by mail, fax, or email. More information is available at this Federal Register notice. The comment deadline was extended to May 3 as noticed here

NRC Meeting: Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will hold the 663rd meeting of its Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. Agenda items, among others, include discussions on the NuScale Safety Evaluation Report and planning for future reports and meetings.

Members of the public may attend in person, or via webcast with advance registration. More information is available at this Federal Register notice and at the NRC website.

DOE Teleconference: Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee

The Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, will hold a teleconference meeting of its Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss a long-range strategic plan for the Fusion Energy Sciences program.

Members of the public may attend the teleconference. More information is available at this Federal Register notice.

Senate Hearing: US Leadership in Nuclear Energy

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing titled "US Leadership in Nuclear Energy." The purpose of the hearing is to examine pathways to reestablish US global leadership in nuclear energy and to receive testimony on S 903, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act. 

Members of the public may attend in person or via webcast. More information is available at the Committee's website.

EPA Comment Deadline: Modifications to Fuel Regulations To Provide Flexibility for E15

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comments on its proposed regulatory changes to allow gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol to take advantage of the 1-pound per square inch (psi) Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 during the summer months. EPA is also proposing an interpretive rulemaking which defines gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol as “substantially similar” to the fuel used to certify Tier 3 motor vehicles. Finally, EPA is proposing regulatory changes to modify certain elements of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance system, in order to improve functioning of the renewable identification number (RIN) market and prevent market manipulation.

 

The objectives of this action are twofold. First, this rulemaking will take steps intended to create parity in the way the RVP of both E10 and E15 fuels is treated under EPA regulations. Second, this action proposes reforms to RIN regulations intended to increase transparency and deter potential manipulative and other anti-competitive behaviors in the RIN market.

Members of the public may submit comments via mail, fax, or at Regulations.gov. More information is available this Federal Register notice and at the EPA website.

DOE Meeting: State Energy Advisory Board

The Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, announces a meeting of the State Energy Advisory Board (STEAB). Agenda items include to meet with and hear from DOE staff of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; to hear from the Office of Technology Transitions and the Office of Electricity; and to develop recommendations for the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The purpose of the board is to make recommendations to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy regarding goals and objectives, programmatic and administrative policies, and to otherwise carry out the Board's responsibilities as designated in the State Energy Efficiency Programs Improvement Act of 1990. 

Members of the public may attend this meeting in person. More information is available at this Federal Register notice.

DOE Meeting: Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee

The Department of Energy (DOE) will hold a meeting of their Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee. Among others, agenda items include discussions on the genomics of population growth, genome bottlenecks, genome engineering for material synthesis, and gaseous carbon waste streams utilization.

Members of the public may attend in person. More information is available at the DOE's website.