July 31, 2017: Annual Tank Car Facility Survey

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics is seeking approval for an information collection from tank car facilities. The purpose is to obtain the planned and projected number of tank cars that will be retrofitted or manufactured to the new DOT standards beginning next year and continuing annually until 2029.
Interested parties may submit comments on the request until August 30, 2017.

Notice of Request for Clearance of New Information Collection: Annual Tank Car Survey

July 27, 2017: CSX Abolishes Safety Rules – Leaving Employees Concerned For Their Safety

CSX Railroad undergone many changes since the new CEO, Hunter Harrison, joined the company. Over 2,000 jobs have been cut so far and more are expected to be cut in the near future. As a result of the reduced manpower, trains have been consolidated which has made them considerably longer – some of which are more than 2 miles long. Neighborhoods are being blocked and residents are prevented from entering or leaving their neighborhood for several hours. Emergency vehicles are not able to enter the neighborhoods during that time either. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has issued citations to CSX for the delays.

A Jacksonville news station recently received an internal company document from a CSX employee that shows CSX has eliminated several safety rules that were designed to keep their employees safe.
Among the safety rules no longer in use are the three-step rule and the brake stick.
The purpose of a three-step rule is to provide an added safeguard to prevent rail cars from moving when an employee is working between or under the cars.
The brake stick prevents railroad crew members from having to climb up and down train cars to turn the hand brakes. CSX employees feel that removing these safeguards has made their jobs more dangerous.

Alisa Wilkes, a personal injury attorney currently representing several CSX employees, said the safeguards that CSX has abolished are ones that most railroad companies have in place because they are important safety rules. Ms. Wilkes stated, “I have had clients from other railways that have been hurt because these rules haven’t been in place at other railways so I do know that it’s coming.”
When asked about the changes to the safety rules a spokesperson for CSX said “The safety of CSX employees and the communities where we operate is our highest priority. CSX continuously evaluates the operating rules that guide employees in safely completing their tasks, to ensure the rules meet the railroad’s changing requirements. Safety is the most important factor in evaluating changes to operating rules and we continue to apply best practices across our operation. Our goal is for every employee to return home safely at the end of their shift.”

Action News Jax Investigates: CSX safety concerns

July 27, 2017: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society Inc. requested a waiver of compliance from portions of the regulations pertaining to steam locomotive inspection and maintenance standards.
Specifically, SBRHS is seeking an extension of 139 calendar days before performing the mandatory 1472 SDI.
Interested parties may submit comments on the petition until September 11, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2017–0059

July 26, 2017: Comments Requested Regarding International Standards on the Transport of Dangerous Goods

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is requesting comments regarding topics that will be discussed during 51st and 52nd sessions of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.
Some of the topics currently on the agenda include explosives and related matters, listing, classification, packing, electronic storage systems, issues relating to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, transportation of gases, and various proposals for amendments to the Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.
Interested parties may submit comments until November 17, 2017.

Docket No. PHMSA–2017–0037; Notice No. 2017–02

July 20, 2017: Florida Institute of Technology receives $64,000 fine for hazardous waste violations

The Florida Institute of Technology received several hazardous waste violations which resulted in fines totaling $64,100.
During an inspection of the pharmaceutical chemistry lab, physics lab, organic metallic synthesis lab, physical organic chemistry lab, and the Knight lab conducted in August 2016, EPA and state inspectors located containers of old chemicals that had peeling labels, residue on the lids, waste leaking from containers that had no indication on whether or not the contents should be classified as hazardous waste, and leaking or deformed containers that held formaldehyde, bleach waste, biological stain waste, and alcohol/water waste.
In addition to those discoveries, inspectors reported the school did not perform weekly inspections of the containers that are used to store hazardous waste, the hazardous waste was not properly labeled while being consolidated, and waste was stored without a permit or proper labels.
This is the school’s third hazardous waste violation that has resulted in large fines since 2008.

Florida Institute of Technology receives $64,000 fine for hazardous waste violations

July 13, 2017: Pipeline rupture spills 50,000 gallons of crude oil in Bastrop Texas

During maintenance work on the Longhorn pipeline system for Magellan Midstream Partners, a contractor punctured the pipeline causing approximately 50,000 gallons of Permian Basin crude oil to spill. The incident occurred about four miles southwest of Bastrop Texas.
The Longhorn pipeline, which is responsible for carrying crude oil from the Permian Basin in West Texas to the Houston area – the nation’s biggest refining center, will be out of service for an unknown period of time. Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, said “If it’s down for a substantial period of time, it’s going to impact crude oil available in the Houston Market. If it was a significant problem, some refiners might have to reduce their runs.”
Magellan released a statement saying “Efforts are in progress to contain the crude oil release to minimize environmental impact and to ensure public safety. The oil has been contained in a small area around the pipeline release and no crude oil has reached any water.”
As a precaution, residents living within a mile of the spill were temporarily evacuated. Thankfully, everyone was permitted to return to their homes later that evening. Magellan said they would reimburse those residents for any costs incurred during the evacuation.

Pipeline rupture spills 50,000 gallons of Permian Basin crude oil in Bastrop County

July 11, 2017: Applications for Special Permits

The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety received eight applications for special permits. The majority of the special permit requests were for cargo aircraft. They included items such as explosives, lithium ion batteries, and anhydrous ammonia.
Interested parties may submit comments on any of the applications until August 10, 2017.

Notice of Applications for Special Permits

July 13, 2017: STARS Receives Best of Bensalem Award

For the third straight year Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services has been awarded the Best of Bensalem Award in the Consultants category.
The Bensalem Award Program is an annual award that recognizes companies in the Bensalem area that proven to be exceptional companies that not only enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community, they also help the Bensalem area a great place to live, work, and play. 

July 6, 2017: Hazardous Materials: New York City Permit Requirements for Transportation of Certain Hazardous Materials

On April 17, 2014, the American Trucking Associations submitted a request for a determination to verify whether or not federal hazardous material transportation law would preempt New York City’s permit requirements regarding hazardous materials being transported by motor vehicle.

PHMSA has released a notice of administrative determination that states federal hazardous material transportation law regarding inspection and permit requirements does preempt the requirements set forth by the Fire Department for the City of New York with respect to trucks that are based outside of the inspecting jurisdiction. It was determined that scheduling and conducting the vehicle inspections that are required for the permit to be issued by the fire department will cause unnecessary delays in the transportation of hazardous materials from locations outside the City of New York.

Docket No. PHMSA–2014–0003; PD–37(R)

July 5, 2017: Wendy Buckley Recognized as One of the Top 100 Women of 2017

Wendy Buckley, President and Founder of Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services, has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Women of 2017 by International Top 100 Magazine.
This publication’s goal is to recognize and pay tribute to hard working individuals who deserve acknowledgment for their dedication and sacrifice.

International Top 100 Magazine Article