The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a proposal to amend its rulemaking procedures. FMCSA is planning to revise the process for preparing and adopting rules, petitions, and direct final rules. Interested parties may submit comments until October 6, 2017.
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 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.
PHMSA, working with FAA, is proposing amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations in an effort to align with the current international standards for the transportation of hazardous materials by air.
The changes would include special provisions, packaging requirements, notification of pilot-in-command (NOTOC) requirements, and include some exceptions for passengers and crew.
Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed changes until February 3, 2017.
The Federal Railroad Administration has proposed changes to the regulations concerning passenger equipment safety standards. The current regulations regarding passenger rail service in a shared right-of-way are separated into two tiers. Tier one focuses on speeds up to 125 mph and tier two focuses on speeds up to 150 mph.
The proposed changes to the regulations include adding an additional tier that would focus on speeds up to 220 mph. In addition, tier three would require trains traveling at speeds above 125 mph to be in an exclusive right-of-way without grade crossings.
Additional changes being proposed include alternative crash-worthiness and occupant protection requirements. This allows for a more open rail market in the United States and will incorporate recent technological designs.
Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed regulation changes until February 6, 2017.
PHMSA has released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in response to the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016.
The PIPES Act requires PHMSA to establish minimum safety standards for underground storage facilities containing natural gas and update minimum safety standards for permanent, small scale liquified natural gas pipelines. In addition, PHMSA is required to publish an ANPRM regarding the petition proposing hazardous materials regulations for identification numbers on cargo tanks.
Interested parties may submit comments concerning the ANPRM until February 21, 2017.
PHMSA is revising the regulations on the hazardous materials grants program. The proposed revisions will include OMB’s uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for federal awards. Interested parties may submit comments until December 12, 2016.
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.
In June FRA announced plans to initiate a pilot program that would allow eligible petitioners, in lieu of Amtrak, an opportunity to operate no more than three long distance routes currently operated by Amtrak. A public hearing will be held on September 7, 2016 to allow interested parties an opportunity to provide oral comments regarding the proposal. Written comments following the meeting may be submitted until October 7, 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.
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.
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.
The Federal Railroad Administration is proposing a regulation that would implement a pilot program for competitive selection of eligible petitioners to operate no more than three long distance routes that are operated by Amtrak. Interested parties may submit comments until August 22, 2016.
On March 10, 2016 FRA and FMCSA issued an ANPRM that requested information concerning the evaluation of safety sensitive personnel with moderate to severe sleep apnea. The comment period for the ANPRM has been extended to July 8, 2016.
PHMSA has issued a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will allow the 2015 edition of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section XII— Rules for Construction and Continued Service of Transport Tanks and the 2015 edition of the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors National Board Inspection Code, in our regulations to be used for both the construction of and the continued service of cargo tank motor vehicles, cryogenic portable tanks, and multi-unit tank car tanks. Interested parties may submit comments until June 28, 2016.
The Federal Railroad Administration is proposing regulations that would determine the minimum required train crew size. The size will be determined based on the type of operation being performed. Most railroad operations would require no less than two crew members but will allow for exceptions if the operation does not pose a safety risk to the environment, public, or railroad employees. The rule would also establish the roles and responsibilities of the second crew member on a moving train.
The proposed rule will offer two options should a railroad wish to start a new operation or continue an existing operation with only one crew member. Both options will require the railroad to provide FRA with safety related information and describe the operation. One option would require an FRA review and would grant approval for up to 90 days. The second option would allow the operation to begin or continue without the review and approval waiting period or while the review is taking place. Interested parties may submit comments until May 16, 2016.