As well, a new ozone rule probably will be completed this year, which would mean finally moving forward on a smog-control standard sidelined in 2011.

A regulation directing federal contractors to hire more disabled workers is somewhere in the offing at the Labor Department, as are ones to protect workers from lung-damaging silica and reduce the risk of deadly factory explosions from dust produced in the making of chemicals, plastics and metals.

Rules also are overdue on genetically modified salmon, catfish inspection, the definition of gluten-free in labeling and food import inspection. In one of the most closely watched cases, Obama could decide early this year whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.

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Associated Press writers Matthew Daly, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Mary Clare Jalonick and Sam Hananel contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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