Yesterday OMB announced that DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration had submitted a notice of proposed rulemaking for “Enhanced Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains”. The notice actually points back to the rulemaking associated with the PHMSA advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) published last September (78 FR 54849-54861) entitled “Rail Petitions and Recommendations to Improve the Safety of Railroad Tank Car Transportation”.
This rulemaking is proceeding much faster than is normal for PHMSA, especially considering the complexity of the issues involved. This reflects the high political importance of the rulemaking due to the increasing number of high-profile accidents involving crude-oil unit trains within the last year (including yesterday’s accident in Lynchburg, VA). I suspect that the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will act fairly quickly on this NPRM.