May 21, 2015: Notice of Action on Special Permit Applications

In accordance with The Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 107 subpart B) notice is hereby given in regards to the actions on special permits applications. The following modes of transportation involved are identified by a number in the “Nature of Application” portion of the table included in the original article is as follows:
1. Motor Vehicle
2. Rail Freight
3. Cargo Vessel
4. Cargo Aircraft Only
5. Passenger-Carrying Aircraft
Those application numbers that are prefixed with EE represent applications for Emergency Special Permits.

“Nature of Application”

May 21, 2015: (NPRM) PHMSA Proposing To Amend Safety Regulations

PHMSA has issued a proposed rulemaking that would amend the natural and other gas pipeline safety regulations (49 CFR part 192) in order to address regulatory requirements involving plastic piping systems that are used in gas services. PHMSA is issuing this proposal in an effort to correct errors, address inconsistencies and respond to petitions for rulemaking. Several areas are covered in the proposal include, but are not limited to, incorporating tracking and traceability provisions, design factors for polyethylene pipe, more stringent mechanical fitting requirements, updated/additional regulations for risers, expanded use of Polyamide-11 thermoplastic pipe, incorporating Polyamide-12 thermoplastic pipe and incorporating updated/additional standards for fittings.

Pipeline Safety: Plastic Pipe Rule


May 21, 2014: Notice of Public Meeting

OSHA will be holding a public meeting on June 10, 2015 to discuss proposals in preparation for the 29th session of the U.N. Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals that is being held in Geneva, Switzerland from June 29 – July 1, 2015.

OSHA and the U.S. Interagency GHS Coordinating group will consider comments and information gathered at this meeting to aid the development of the U.S. Government positions for the UNSCEGHS meeting later this year.

The June 10th meeting will also include a public meeting that will be conducted by DOT and PHMSA in preparation for the U.N. Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods that is being held from June 22-26 in Geneva, Switzerland. PHMSA will be gathering comments relative to potential new work items to be considered for inclusion in the international agenda.

Preparations for the 29th Session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS)


May 14, 2015: Notice and Request for Comments

PHMSA is seeking comments on its plan to revise an information collection under OMB Control Number 2137-0628, “Flammable Hazardous Materials by Rail Transportation”. The new requirement would have tank car owners reporting their progress in retrofitting tank cars to the Department of Transportation. All comments are to be submitted before July 13, 2015.

Hazardous Materials: Information Collection Activities

May 8, 2015: Notice of Public Meeting on Proposed Classification Criteria on Class 8 Materials

PHMSA has issued a notice of public meeting to discuss proposals in preparation for the 47th session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 10th, 2015.
PHMSA is also seeking comments in regards to potential new work items that might be considered by the Sub-Committee, such as enhanced recognition of alternative test methods relevant to the classification of corrosive materials.

Meeting Details

May 8, 2015: (FR) Enhanced Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have released new requirements that are designed to reduce the consequences and probability of accidents involving high-hazard flammable trains (trains that are transporting large quantities of flammable liquids). This new rule would also regulate their operation by enforcing speed limits,  braking systems and routing.
In addition, this new rule contains safety improvements to the design standards of tank cars, new notification requirements, and a new sampling/classification program for unrefined petroleum based products in an effort to address the unique risks that are associated with the increased reliance on trains to transport flammable liquids and hazardous materials. The rule is a combination of recommendations from the NTSB, public comments and an economic impact analysis.

Hazardous Materials: Enhanced Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains


May 4, 2015: IATA Issues Addendum 2 to 56th Edition of the DGR

Mandatory compliance for the 56th edition of the Dangerous Goods Regulations has been in effect since January 1, 2015 but the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has just issued Addendum 2, which focuses primarily on the transportation of lithium metal and lithium-ion cells and batteries. Many carriers have already banned those items unless they are contained inside equipment. Other items included in this addendum are carrying/charging of electronic cigarettes, carrying of safety devices, dry ice, environmentally hazardous substances, internal combustion engines and radioactive materials. Many of the changes pertain to both passenger and cargo only aircraft.

IATA Dangerous Goods Documentation: Significant changes to 56th Edition

May 1, 2015: (FR) DOT Releases the Final Rule on Flammable Liquids by Rail

New Tank Car Rule: DOT117:

Standards for New and Existing Tank Cars Used in HHFTs

  • 9/16” normalized TC 128 Steel (that’s 1/8 thicker than current standards for DOT111)
  • Full height head shields (current is ½ height)
  • Thermal protection and jackets (existing regulations do not require jackets or thermal protection)
  • Top fittings protection (not currently required by regulation but is required by CPC 1232)
  • Bottom Outlet Valve enhanced handle design to prevent opening during derailment

Retrofits & Phase-Outs:

  • Cars not meeting the DOT117 standard being used in ANY Flammable Liquid service must be retrofitted or phased out, including all legacy and CPC 1232 DOT111 and TC111 tank cars. They will be required to meet a “performance standard”
  • There will be retrofit/phase-out schedule which will prioritize the “least safe cars first” starting with crude oil, then ethanol.
  • New tank cars constructed after October 1, 2015 are required to meet enhanced DOT Specification 117 design or performance criteria for use in an HHFT.
  • Existing tank cars must be retrofitted in accordance with the DOT-prescribed retrofit design or performance standard for use in an HHFT.
  • Retrofits must be completed based on a prescriptive retrofit schedule. The retrofit timeline focuses on two risk factors: the packing group, and differing types of DOT-111 and CPC-1232 tank car.
  • A retrofit reporting requirement is triggered if consignees owning or leasing tank cars covered under this rulemaking do not meet the initial retrofit milestone.
  • The Canadian schedule is slightly faster (by about 7 months) because of the smaller-sized fleets and previous commitments
  • Tank cars designated for Ethanol services are assigned a slower schedule for retrofit or phase-out.
  • *HHFT: High Hazard Flammable Train: High-hazard flammable trains” (HHFT) which means “a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid or 35 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid dispersed through a train.

Reduced Operating Speeds:

  • Restrict all HHFTs to 50-mph in all areas.
  • Require HHFTs that contain any tank cars not meeting the enhanced tank car standards required by this rule operate at a 40-mph speed restriction in high-threat urban areas defined the Transportation Security Administration’s regulations at 49 CFR 1580.3.
  • Require HHFTs to have in place a functioning two-way EOT device or a DP braking system.
  • Require any high-hazard flammable unit train (HHFUT)1 transporting at least one PG I flammable liquid be operated with an ECP braking system by January 1, 2021.
  • Require all other HHFUTs be operated with an ECP braking system by May 1, 2023.
  • **HFFUT:  “high-hazard flammable unit train” (HHFUT) means a train comprised of 70 or more loaded tank cars containing Class 3 flammable liquids traveling at greater than 30 mph.

More Accurate Classification of Unrefined Petroleum-Based Products:

  • Document sampling and testing program for all unrefined petroleum-based products, such as crude oil.
  • Certify that programs are in place, document the testing and sampling program outcomes, and make information available to DOT personnel upon request.

Rail routing – Risk Assessment:

  • Railroads operating HHFTs would be required to perform a routing analysis that considers, at a minimum, 27 safety and security factors and select a route based on its findings. These planning requirements are prescribed in 49 CFR § 172.820.

Rail routing – Notification:

  • Ensures that railroads notify State and/or regional fusion centers, and that State, local and tribal officials who contact a railroad to discuss routing decisions are provided appropriate contact information for the railroad in order to request information related to the routing of hazardous materials through their jurisdictions.

For more information, please review the entire Final Rule on Flammable Liquids by Rail, the Summary developed by DOT, and DOTs Press Release.

Please contact us if we can answer any questions for you on this latest rulemaking. (844) 88-STARS or (844) 887-8277;

May 1, 2015: Press Conference on Rail Car Safety Held Today

The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, and Canada's Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, held a press conference at 10:30 this morning to discuss the new final rule to improve railroad safety (“the tank car rule”). Secretary Foxx began the conference reminding us all of the Lac-Megantic derailment that took place in 2013 and killed 47 people. As devastating as that accident was, there was one very important lesson the industry learned…there is no such thing as an American fleet or a Canadian fleet…just one fleet that joins us together. Secretary Foxx stated that the goal of this new rule is to improve the transportation of flammable materials, including crude oil and ethanol. Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, began her portion of the press conference stating that the two interconnected rail networks are important to both communities. The recent accidents and derailments have led to more stringent standards for crude transport.

The United States is extracting more oil than ever before, with 2014 being the highest year on record. Naturally, as the production rate increases so does the growth of railcar loads of crude. Since 2008 the transportation of crude by rail has increase 4000%. Despite the fact that 99.9% of the shipments reached their destination safely and without incident it just is not enough. The industry must strive for perfection.

The new rule, which focuses on high hazard flammable trains, is part of a comprehensive package of interdependent regulations that are designed to improve safety. This package, along with the more than two dozen actions that have already been taken, is the result of a combined effort by several agencies, including Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Homeland Security, FEMA, EPA and Dept. of Commerce. According to Secretary Foxx, by working together they have created a “comprehensive approach to safety that will prevent accidents from happening, will mitigate damage if they do, and support emergency response”.

One element of the rule states that unit trains traveling more than 30 mph must use ECP braking systems as they offer a higher level of safety than current braking systems. Secretary Foxx stated that ECP brakes can be the difference between a contained fire and a catastrophe because they reduce the time it takes for a train to stop in an emergency, prevent cars from slamming into each other during an accident, decrease the number of cars that derail during an accident and decrease the probability of punctures to the rail cars. ECP is considered a reliable technology and broad use application is an important safety factor because gives us the ability to reduce kinetic energy and separate the trains in the event of an accident.

The new regulation focuses on three main elements. The first portion requires thicker steel heads/shields, thermal protection with jackets, protective covers on valves and stronger bottom outlet valves. The second portion deals with both DOT 111 and CPC 1232 tank cars. By April 1, 2020 all crude will be transported in either new or retrofitted tank cars that meet the new standards. In order to get all cars fixed or replaced in a timely fashion, a risk based approach was used to determine which cars were the oldest and least crash resistant. This means that the cars that transport crude oil are handled first as they have been deemed the least safe. Cars handling ethanol are put on a slower schedule since ethanol is considered safer than crude and therefore not as high of a priority. Items that were used during the consideration process were features like steel thickness, head shield protection and whether the cars they are transporting are jacketed or unjacketed, and the type and volume of flammable liquid they are transporting.

By the end of 2017 all non-jacketed DOT 111s will be either retrofitted or no longer in service. The next cars to be retrofitted or replaced are the DOT 111s that are jacketed. Following those are the unjacketed CPC 1232s and finally the jacketed CPC 1232s. Canada is expected to complete their process of replacing or retrofitting their tank cars approximately seven months ahead of the United States since their fleet contains only 30% of the tank cars that are currently being used for transporting hazardous materials. The United States has the remaining 70% which is why it is going to take longer for them to complete the process. Although the railroads don’t support ECP brakes, a dispute will not hold up the enforcement of the rule. Secretary Foxx mentioned that if you look back over the history of rulemaking, when challenged courts tend to focus on the area being challenged rather than the rule as a whole. He believes that the rule will stand up to complaints but only time will tell if that will hold true.

The third portion deals with the railroads and associated companies. Railroads will be required to determine the safest route to transport dangerous goods and adhere to a new maximum speed limit of 40 mph in high threat urban areas. This new speed limit will remain in place until all trains meet the new standards. Railroads are also expected to have a point of contact to share information with communities and follow new standards for testing and sampling hazardous materials prior to transporting them. A new reporting requirement is being implemented in January 2017 to ensure that the retrofitting will be completed by the end of the year. This schedule was put in place to ensure the manufacturers have enough time to make the changes that are required.