Saturday, August 31, 2013

OMB Approves PHMSA Rail Safety ANPRM

Yesterday the Office of Management and Budget announced that it had approved, consistent with change, the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on hazmat rail safety from the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration that I had briefly discussed in a previous blog.

The Unified Agenda describes this proposed rulemaking this way:

“PHMSA is considering amendments that would enhance safety and revise and clarify the HMR applicable to the transportation of hazardous materials by rail. This action responds to petitions for rulemaking submitted by the regulated community and NTSB recommendations that are associated with the petitions.”

The rulemaking looks like it will include:

•Identifying elements of non-conformity that do not require a movement approval from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA);
•Correcting an unsafe condition associated with pressure relief valves (PRV) on rail cars transporting carbon dioxide, refrigerated liquid;
•Revising outdated regulations applicable to the repair and maintenance of DOT Specification 110, DOT Specification 106, and ICC 27 tank car tanks (ton tanks);
•Excepting ruptured discs from removal if the inspection itself damages, changes, or alters the intended operation of the device; and
•Enhancing the standards for DOT Specification 111 tank cars used to transport Packing Group I and II hazardous materials.

It looks like PHMSA is on track for issuing this ANPRM (HM-251) in September as outlined in the Unified Agenda. Depending on how extensive the OMB directed changes were, I think that we can expect to see this ANPRM in a couple of weeks.

BTW: This might end up being a good regulatory vehicle for addressing the safety issues associated with the Canadian crude oil incident.

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