STARS is proud to announce that our president and founder, Wendy Buckley, was recently named Top Female Executive by Worldwide Who’s Who. Ms. Buckley was chosen as a result of the high quality of service that her company provides and her outstanding contribution to the environmental industry.
FRA issued a notice discussing application requirements and procedures to be used when obtaining funding for Positive Train Control system installation. FRA will be reviewing applications and select projects for funding. FTA will award the grant funding and manage the funds after the award has been issued. FRA will assist FTA with monitoring the installation of PTC systems.
Interested parties must submit applications by September 27, 2016.
PHMSA has issued a proposed rule to revise regulations regarding the applicability of comprehensive oil spill response plans. Under the new rule, railroads will be required to have a comprehensive oil spill response plan if it has single trains transporting 20 or more tank cars loaded with liquid petroleum oil in a continuous block or single trains carrying 35 or more tank cars loaded with liquid petroleum. The rule would also clarify requirements for the comprehensive oil spill response plan.
Interested parties may submit comments until September 27, 2016.
On July 25, 2016, The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced Canada will begin phasing out DOT-111 tank cars as a means to transport crude oil as early as November 1, 2016. This new deadline has accelerated the phase-out date by as much as 16 months. Unjacketed DOT-111 tank cars were set to be phased out by March 1, 2017, while jacketed DOT-111 cars had a phase out date of March 1, 2018.
Replacing these tank cars will be TC-117 tank cars, which contain a thicker steel, head shields, thermal protection, and top fitting protection.
The Honourable Marc Garneau stated “Accelerating the phase-out of legacy DOT-111 tank cars in crude oil services is another crucial step in improving the safety of communities along our railway lines. By removing the least crash-resistant tank cars in service, we continue to modernize how dangerous goods are shipped in Canada and further protect Canadians and their families who live near Canada’s rail network.”
As part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015, the secretary of transportation is required to initiate a study of the levels and structure of insurance for railroad carriers who transport hazardous materials. A report showing the results of the study and recommendations for addressing the liability issues regarding railroad transportation of hazardous materials must be submitted to Congress within one year of the study.
PHMSA began the study in March of 2016. The three main areas being covered are the level and structure of insurance available in the private market against the full liability potential for damages arising from a railroad accident or incident involving hazardous materials, the level and structure of insurance that is both appropriate and necessary to efficiently allocate risk and financial responsibility for claims arising from an accident or incident, and the potential applicability for trains transporting hazardous materials, of an alternative insurance model, including a secondary liability coverage pool that would supplement commercial insurance.
Interested parties may submit comments until September 9, 2016.
PHMSA is proposing amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations regarding the manufacturing, use, and requalification of DOT-specification compressed gas cylinders. The proposed amendments include changes to the filling requirements for both compressed and liquefied gases, expanded use of salvage cylinders, and clarifications to the manufacturing and requalification requirements for these cylinders.
Interested parties may submit comments until September 26, 2016.
EPA may soon begin charging some users of the hazardous waste manifest a prescribed fee when submitting or using an electronic manifest. The fees are being implemented in order for EPA to recover some of the cost associated with the development and operation of the national e-manifest system. EPA is also proposing several amendments to the electronic hazardous waste manifest regulations.
Interested parties may submit comments until September 26, 2016.
FMCSA has revised the periodic inspection of commercial motor vehicles regulations. Motor carriers will no longer be permitted to satisfy the annual inspection requirement by receiving a violation-free roadside inspection. The revisions will be effective as of July 22, 2016.
As as result of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, FMCSA was required to conform its regulations in order to ensure they remain current and consistent with the statutory requirements. The final rule containing the changes will be effective as of July 22, 2016. All petitions for reconsideration must be turned in no later than August 22, 2016.
The Postal Service has announced it will be making revisions to Publication 52 – Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, in an effort to more closely align with DOTs regulations on the transportation of hazardous materials. The revisions will include the standards for small quantity provisions of hazardous materials, prohibited shipment for hazard classes 1, 2, 4, and 7, and the expanded requirements for mailing hazardous, restricted, or perishable materials. These revisions will be effective as of August 4, 2016.
FAA will be holding the 4th meeting of Special Committee 235 – Non-Rechargeable Lithium Battery and Batteries. The meeting will be open to the public and is being held on August 16-17, 2016.
In an effort to improve the response readiness for oil spills and ameliorate the effects of rail incidents that involve petroleum oil, PHMSA and FRA are proposing regulations for Oil Spill Response Plans and Information Sharing for High-Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFTs). Under the new rule, railroads would be required to share information with state and tribal emergency response commissions. New testing methods for initial boiling point for flammable liquids would be included in hazardous materials regulations.
If approved, the new regulations would require some HHFTs to have comprehensive plans rather than the basic plans currently being used. Operators will be required to be prepared to respond to any incident involving either a worst-case discharge or the largest amount of oil that could be reasonably expected to be discharged should an incident occur.
In addition, railroads will be required to submit a monthly notification or certificate of no change to both state and tribal emergency response commissions, and relevant emergency responders for HHFTs. The information required in the monthly notification includes a reasonable estimate of the number of HHFTs expected to travel through each county in the state every week, the routes the trains are using, descriptions of the materials being shipped, all applicable emergency response information as required by the regulations, contact information for someone at the railroad, tribal and state emergency response commissions, and any relevant emergency responders that are related to the railroad’s transportation of affected trains. Oil trains will be required to provide contact information for qualified individuals and descriptions of response zones to the state and tribal emergency response commissions or appropriate state delegated entities.
FAA will be holding the RTCA Special Committee 225 – Rechargable Lithium Battery and Battery Systems 24th meeting on August 9, 2016. While this meeting will be open to the public there is limited availability. Interested parties may submit comments prior to the meeting. However, those interested in presenting their comments during the meeting are asked to contact RTCA for instructions on how to do so.
PHMSA has recently announced its new online Hazardous Materials Training Modules. This will allow users the opportunity to access updated training manuals, track progress, and access various resources and guidance documents. This service is free of charge and may be used to satisfy the general awareness/familiarization training requirements.
To obtain a user id and create a password visit http://phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/outreach-training/training-modules
Union Pacific Railroad submitted a petition for waiver of compliance from 49 CFR 229.135(b)(5) and (6), which requires memory modules to be upgraded when locomotives are remanufactured. Union Pacific is asking for a waiver that would remain in effect through October 1, 2018. Interested parties may submit comments on the waiver request until August 26, 2016.
In February form FRA F 1680.167 was approved under emergency clearance procedures for 180 days. FRA is now seeking regular clearance for the maximum period of 3 years. Interested parties may submit comments regarding this request until August 15, 2016.
In April 2014 ATA applied for an administrative determination on whether Federal hazmat transportation law preempts Pittsburg’s requirements for permits authorizing transportation of hazardous materials by motor vehicle. PHMSA published a comment period and conducted additional fact-finding analysis.
The City of Pittsburgh’s permit and permit fee requirement are not being applied for enforcement so the application for determination of preemption has been dismissed.
Maryland Transit Administration petitioned FRA for a waiver of compliance regarding alternate standards on the CCB-KE-3.9 air brake system on MARC HHP-8 locomotives. The alternate standard would allow for longer intervals between level two and three maintenance schedule.
Interested parties may submit comments regarding the request until August 26, 2016.