April 30, 2015: Safety Rule for Crude Oil Trains Expected on Friday

According to two individuals that are familiar with the topic, the highly anticipated federal safety rule that will ensure tank cars that are hauling oil and other flammable liquids less prone to rupture is expected to be released on Friday May 1, 2015.The new rule is expected to require, among other things, thicker walls and stronger valves. Safety investigators have long said the older cars, DOT-111s, were prone to rupture in derailments. Recent accidents in both the U.S. and Canada have raised concerns about the newer models, CPC-1232s. Earlier this month the NTSB stated the CPC-1232s can overheat and explode in a fire and recommended they be upgraded or replaced within five years. However, the companies that own the tank cars claim the deadline can't be met.

Safety Rule for Oil Trains "Said to Be Released by U.S. on Friday May 1st"

April 30, 2015: U.S. DOT and Transport Canada to Make Rail Car Safety Announcement


U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada to Make Rail Car Safety Announcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, May 1 at 10:30 a.m., U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Canada’s Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt will hold a press conference to announce the next generation of stronger, safer rail tank cars for the transportation of flammable liquids in North America. Secretary Foxx will also announce other aspects of DOT’s final rule. The press conference will be streamed live online here.

WHO: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt
WHAT: Press Conference
WHERE: U.S. Department of Transportation Media Center 
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE 
Washington, D.C.

WHEN: Friday, May 1, 2015  10:30 a.m. EST

Watch the live press conference  – available at 10:30am on May 1, 2015

April 30, 2015: (FR) Reconsideration on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS)

In February 2012 the Federal Register published final rules entitled National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) From Coal and Oil Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units and Standards of Performance (NSPS) for Fossil Fuel Fired Electric Utility, Industrial, Commercial, Institutional and Small Industrial, Commercial, Institutional Steam Generating Units. The US EPA recently provided notice that it has already responded to 23 petitions for reconsideration. The agency had granted reconsideration on several discrete issues in the past and then took final action on reconsideration in April 2013 and again in November 2014. On April 21, 2015 the Administrator denied the remaining reconsideration requests in separate letters to the petitioners. The agency did provide a full explanation of the rationale for each denial in the docket for the rules.

Reconsideration on the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS)

April 27, 2015: PHMSA Issues Announcement on Preemptive Determination

PHMSA has issued an announcement stating that due to the fact that additional time is needed in order to conduct a fact finding and legal analysis on requirements for hazardous materials permits for New York City and Pittsburgh it would be unfair to issue a decision within the usual time period of 180 days. As a result, the decision will be delayed an additional 120 days.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) filed the applications for preemptive determination. The NYC application dealt with the rules issued by the NYC Fire Department that require permits in order to transport certain hazardous materials by motor vehicle, transshipments and a fee for the permit.  A similar permit was filed in Pittsburgh.

PHMSA putting hazmat preemption requests on slow track



ATA Files Petitions for Haz-Mat Exemptions

April 29, 2015: (SA) Hazardous Materials Safety Advisory – Unauthorized Certification of Compressed Gas Cylinders

PHMSA has issued a safety advisory concerning Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supplies Inc., also known as Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supply, Inc., located in Brooklyn New York. Liberty Industrial marked ICC, DOT Specification and DOT Special Permit high pressure compressed gas cylinders as authorized for hazardous materials transportation. They did not, however, properly test the cylinders and do not have authorization to do so.

If any of these cylinders have been taken or received from Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supplies any time between April 1998 and October 2014 they may not have been tested properly as required by the HMR. They are not authorized for filling of hazardous materials until they have been properly tested by an  individual or company who has been authorized to re-qualify DOT Specification and DOT Special Permit cylinders.

Cylinders described in this safety advisory notice that are filled with atmospheric gas should be vented or otherwise safely discharged. Cylinders that are filled with a material other than an atmospheric gas should not be vented but instead should be safely discharged.

List of Authorized Re-Qualifiers


Hazardous Materials: Safety Advisory-Unauthorized Certification of Compressed Gas Cylinders


April 29, 2015: PHMSA Issues Notice and Request For Comments

PHMSA published a notice in the Federal Register on February 4, 2015 requesting comments on an information collection, Transportation of Hazardous Liquids by Pipeline: Recordkeeping and Accident Reporting, that will expire on July 31, 2015. The original comment period was 60 days. PHMSA received no comments concerning the information collection during that time period. As a result, PHMSA has published this notice to extend the comment period an additional 30 days. Anyone interested in submitting comments must do so no later than May 29, 2015.

Pipeline Safety: Information Collection Activities


April 29, 2015: Current Listing of Designated and Restricted Routes for Hazardous Materials

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have issued a notice that contains the current National Hazardous Materials Route Registry (NHMRR). The NHMRR is a complete list, as reported by both the State and Tribal Government routing officials, of designated and restricted road/highway routes for the transportation of highway route controlled quantities (HRCQ) of Class 7 materials (RAM) and non-radioactive hazardous materials (NRHMs).
The current list contained in this notice will supersede the NHMRR that was published on July 14, 2014.

National Hazardous Materials Route Registry

April 27, 2015: OSHA Requesting Comments on OMB Proposal

OSHA is seeking public comments concerning the proposal to extend the OMB's approval of information collection requirements as specified in the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200; 1915.1200; 1917.28; 1918.90; 1926.59; and 1928.21). Comments will be accepted until June 26, 2015.

For more information on where to submit your comments please see the Federal Register


April 23, 2015: Transport Canada Issued Emergency Directive for HazMat Trains

Transport Canada's Minister of Transport, Honorable Minister Lisa Raitt, issued an Emergency Directive to railway companies in regards to the safe and secure transportation of dangerous goods. The Emergency Directive, which will remain in effect until August 17, 2015, requires trains to abide by a maximum speed limit of 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling in highly urbanized areas. Companies are now required to increase the number of inspections and risk assessments performed along the key routes that are being used to transport dangerous goods.

Stricter requirements to safeguard the communities along our railway lines



HAZMAT Endorsement (HME)

The TSA Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) Threat Assessment Program (HTAP) was designed to meet the requirements set forth in the USA Patriot Act, which requires all states to ensure that any driver who intends to transport hazardous materials in commerce has been determined not to be a security risk. Part of that investigation process into a potential hazmat driver shall include a criminal history check, verification of legal status and review of any relevant international databases.

Do you need to obtain, renew or transfer an HME on your CDL? Don't forget TSA requires you to begin the application process no less than 30 days prior to the expiration date listed on your CDL.

For more information, you can contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. STARS does not offer fingerprinting services or HazMat Endorsement Services but we can help you find the information you need.


April 23, 2015: (EO) FRA Issues Speed Emergency Order

The Federal Railroad Administration, in the interest of public safety, has issued an Emergency Order that requires all trains that are transporting large quantities of Class 3 flammable liquids while traveling through certain high-threat urban areas (HTUAs) abide by a maximum authorized operating speed limit of 40 mph. The order was deemed necessary in light of the recent accidents involving trains transporting large quantities of petroleum crude oil and ethanol. The increasing reliance on railroads to transport voluminous quantities of hazardous materials was also a contributing factor in the release of this order, which is effective immediately. Railroads need to complete implementation no later than April 24, 2015.

According to this Emergency Order, an affected train is defined as one that contains:

  1. 20 or more loaded tank cars in a continuous block  — or — 35 or more loaded tank cars of Class 3 flammable liquids
  2. At least 1 DOT Specification 111 tank car  (including those built in accordance with AAR Casualty Prevention Circular 1232) loaded with a Class 3 flammable liquid

Speed Emergency Order


April 17, 2015: (SA) FRA Issues Mechanical Inspection Safety Advisory

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a Safety Advisory that recommends enhancing the mechanical safety of trains that are transporting large quantities of flammable liquids. FRA is recommending the use of highly qualified individuals to conduct both the brake and mechanical inspections. In addition, FRA recommends the industry reduce the impact threshold levels that are currently used for wayside detectors that measure wheel impacts to ensure the wheel integrity of tank cars in those trains. In an effort to continue ensuring the highest level of safety on the Nation's Railroads FRA may modify this Safety Advisory, issue additional safety advisories or take other appropriate action deemed necessary.  

Mechanical Inspection Safety Advisory


April 23, 2015: Notification of Modification of Information Collection Requirements; Comment Request

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a notice of intent to modify the existing instructions on the Rail Equipment Accident/Incident Report form (FRA F 6180.54). Over the course of a five year period the FRA is going to gather additional information on this form concerning rail cars that are carrying petroleum crude oil in any train that is involved in an FRA reportable accident.
The purpose of this new reporting requirement is to provide the FRA with more specific information regarding accidents involving trains that are transporting crude oil. This will provide the FRA with an opportunity to better address the risks to both railroad safety and the general public.

 Additional information can be viewed in the Federal Register

April 17, 2015: FRA’s letter to the Association of American Railroads

The Federal Railroad Administration isued a letter asking the Association of American Railroads to develop a process that would make information available to FRA within a specified period of time following an accident or derailment involving crude oil in order to assist the FRA's investigation process and emergency responders. The letter also reqests a meeting between the two agencies within 30 days to further discuss this issue.  

FRA's Letter to AAR

April 23, 2015: Emergency Response Information Requirements

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration has issued a notice to remind those who ship or carry hazardous materials that they have a responsibility to ensure current, accurate and timely emergency response information is both maintained on a regular basis and available to emergency response officials immediately.

Additional Information can be found in the Federal Register

April 23, 2015: (SA) Information Requirements For Transportation of Class 3 Flammable Liquids

A safety advisory is being issued  by FRA and PHMSA as a reminder to railroads that are operating a "high hazard flammable train" (HHFT) that in the event of an accident PHMSA and/or FRA personnel may require certain information during the course of the investigation.

— and thus should be provided as expeditiously as possible, upon request:

  •  Information on the train consist, including the train number, locomotive(s),locomotives as distributed power, end-of-train device information, number andposition of tank cars in the train, tank car reporting marks, and the tank carspecifications and relevant attributes3 of the tank cars in the train.
  • Waybill (origin and destination) information
  • The Safety Data Sheet(s) (SDS), or any other document used to provide comprehensive emergency response and incident mitigation information.
  • Results of any product testing undertaken prior to transportation that was used to properly characterize the Class 3 flammable liquids for transportation (initial testing).
  • Results from any analysis of product samples (taken prior to being offered into transportation) from tank car(s) involved in the derailment.
  • Date of acceptance as required to be noted on shipping papers under 49 CFR §174.24.
  • If a flammable liquid is involved, the type of liquid and the name and location of the company extracting the material.4
  • The identification of the company having initial testing performed (sampling and analysis of material) and information on the lab (if external) conducting the analysis.
  • Name and location of the company transporting the material from well head to loading facility or terminal.
  • Name and location of the company that owns and that operates the terminal or loading facility that loaded the product for rail transportation.
  • Name of the Railroad(s) handling the tank car(s) at any time from point of origin to destination and a timeline of handling changes between railroads.

A high hazard train can either be a train that is comprised of 20 or more tank cars that are loaded with Class 3 flammable liquid in a continuous block or a train comprised of 35 or more tank cars loaded with Class 3 flammable liquids across the entire train.

Hazardous Materials: Information Requirements Related to the Transportation of Trains Carrying Specified Volumes of Flammable Liquids

April 20, 2015: Notice and Request for Comments

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice will announce the renewal Information Collection Requests (ICRs) are being forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget for review and comment. The Federal Register notice and comment period was published on February 9, 2015.

Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

April 17, 2015: Petition for Waiver of Compliance and Notice of Public Hearing Correction Issued

The Federal Railroad Administration issued a notice of public hearing on April 3, 2015 to collect data, views and comments in regards to BNSF Railway's petition for modification and extension of its waiver of compliance. The notice contained an incorrect date for the public hearing.

Petition for Waiver of Compliance and Notice of Public Hearing; Correction

April 14, 2015: (PR) Proposed Termination of Explosive Approvals

PHMSA has proposed to terminate approximately 443 Explosive Approvals following a failed attempt to reach the approval holders in October 2014. PHMSA sent certified letters to the approval holders using the address that was on file but the letters were returned as undeliverable. As a result of the approval holders not providing PHMSA with a valid company name and address the approvals will be terminated 30 days following the notice being published in the Federal Register.

Hazardous Materials: Explosive Approvals—Applicant Contact Information and Compliance With Special Provision 347

April 1, 2015: UPS Announces New Restrictions and Requirements For Shipping Lithium Batteries

Effective July 1, 2015 UPS will be requiring all new and existing customers to obtain pre-approval from UPS in order to ship lithium metal batteries without equipment (UN3090) via UPS Air Services. The pre-approval applies not only to those batteries that are considered lightly regulated but also to those are fully regulated and require dangerous goods shipping papers. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that proper training has been completed and that all applicable safety regulations are being followed for such shipments.

For a complete listing of the steps to apply for pre-approval please visit the UPS Website