The Department of Transportation has announced the final updated RIA (Regulatory Impact Analysis) regarding Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes (ECP). PHMSA and FRA made the determination to rescind the ECP mandate upon reviewing the information provided by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, U.S. General Accountability Office, and studies provided by FRA. It was determined during the review that the cost of continuing the mandate would exceed three-fold the benefits it may provide.
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.
PHMSA issued a final rule revising the minimum and maximum civil penalty that can be issued for a knowing violation of the federal hazardous materials transportation law, regulation, order, special permit, or approval.
Effective April 19, 2017, the minimum amount that can be issued for a knowing violation is $471. The maximum amount, with no severe or fatal injuries resulting from the violation, is $78,376. However, if serious illness, severe injury, or fatal injury does occur the maximum amount of the civil penalty will be increased to $182,877.
PHMSA has issued a final rule amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations in an effort to maintain consistency with the current international regulations and standards.
Some of the amendments include changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups and authorizations, quantity limitations for air transportation, and vessel stowage requirements.
The rule will be effective as of March 30, 2017. The only exception to the effective date is Instruction 22 which will be effective on January 2, 2019.
The comment period for the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the volatility of unrefined petroleum products and Class 3 materials has been extended. The comment period will now conclude on May 19, 2017 rather than the original date of March 20, 2017.
PHMSA has issued a notice to offerors and carriers of hazardous materials regarding the 2017-2018 ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and Amendment 38-16 of the IMDG Code.
At this time, PHMSA has not made a final decision on whether or not it will be adopting the recent changes to the international standards. Until a decision has been made offerers and carriers will be permitted to use either the 2015-2016 or 2017-2018 standards for markings and labeling. The FAA, FRA, FMCSA, and PHMSA will be following this enforcement discretion until such time as this notice has been modified or rescinded.
PHMSA is considering making a revision to the HMR that would establish vapor pressure limits on unrefined petroleum based products and Class 3 flammable liquids during transportation and will apply to all modes of transportation.
Interested parties may submit comments until March 20, 2017. PHMSA will be evaluating all comments, potential safety benefits, and costs associated with using vapor pressure thresholds.
PHMSA is proposing changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations that would apply particular methods for conducting sampling and vapor testing for unrefined petroleum based products. Interested parties may submit comments, data, or relevant information between December 30, 2016 through February 28, 2017.
The Attorney General of New York submitted a petition for rulemaking to The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration requesting implementation of a Reid Vapor Pressure limit less than 9 pounds psi for crude oil transported by rail.
PHMSA is currently seeking comments on a range of vapor pressure thresholds and will evaluate the potential safety benefits of vapor pressure thresholds in regards to the hazardous materials classification process for both unrefined petroleum based products and Class 3 material liquids.
Interested parties will be able to submit comments, data, or relevant information between December 30, 2016 and February 28, 2017.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a safety advisory to offerors and users of DOT-39 cylinders. The advisory states that the cylinders with an internal volume that exceeds 75 cubic inches should not be filled with liquefied flammable compressed gas.
PHMSA has issued a safety advisory concerning the transportation of damaged, defective, or recalled lithium cells or batteries, and portable electronic devices aboard aircraft.
Passengers are being asked to turn the device off, disconnect from any charging equipment, disable any application that may cause the phone to reactivate such as the alarm clock, protect the power button to avoid the device accidentally being turned on, and keep the device in your carry-on luggage rather than in checked baggage.
In an effort to address questions posed by stakeholders regarding the labeling requirements of both agencies, PHMSA and OSHA have released a joint guidance that clarifies the applicability of their labeling requirements for hazardous chemicals. The two agencies are responsible for the enforcement of safety standards regarding hazardous chemicals in the United States.
PHMSA submitted a proposal to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations in an effort to ensure consistency with international regulations. Some of the changes will include adjustments to shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, and vessel stowage requirements. Some of the amendments suggested are a result of coordination with Canada under the US-Canadian Regulatory Cooperation Council.
Interested parties may submit comments regarding the proposed rule until November 7, 2016.
The Approvals and Permits Division of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has terminated several Designated Approvals Agencies approvals. The companies in this notice failed to attend a mandatory DAA meeting in March 2014. Show Cause letters requesting each company submit current operating status were sent in May 2015 via certified mail. To date, PHMSA not received any correspondence regarding the request.
PHMSA has issued a notice announcing the termination of manufacturing approval for several companies. Over the past two years PHMSA has attempted to notify each of the companies listed in this notice on multiple occasions. To date, none of the companies have responded to the notifications.
PHMSA issued a final rule that updates the Hazardous Materials Regulations to include requirements set forth in the FAST Act.
The FAST Act requires a revised phase-out schedule for all DOT-111 tank cars that are used for transporting unrefined petroleum, ethanol, and Class 3 flammable liquids. In addition, all tank cars that have been built according to DOT-117 specifications and all non-jacketed tank cars that have been built to DOT-117R specifications are required to have a thermal blanket no less than 1/2 inch thick and meet existing thermal protection standards. The FAST Act also sets minimum top fittings protection requirements on DOT-117R specification tank cars.
The final rule is effective as of August 15, 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.
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.
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.
PHMSA has proposed multiple changes to the HMR that would update, clarify, and provide relief from some regulatory requirements. Some of the proposed changes include addressing inconsistencies with labels and placards, permitting electronic signatures on EPA manifest forms, and allowing alternative testing for aerosols.
Interested parties may submit comments until August 29, 2016.