At a press conference this morning the Secretary of Transportation and the Canadian Minister of Transportation announced the issuing of the new DOT highly-hazardous flammable train regulations (HM-251). A copy of the final rule (.PDF Download) was signed today by Secretary Foxx and it should be published in the Federal Register sometime next week. It should be noted that the OMB’s OIRA has still not ‘approved’ the HHFT rule.
According to a summary document (.PDF Download) provided by the DOT press release issued today the rule addresses the following areas:
∙ Enhanced Braking;
∙ Enhanced Standards for New and Existing Tank Cars Used in HHFTs;
∙ Reduced Operating Speeds;
∙ More Accurate Classification of Unrefined Petroleum-Based Products;
∙ Rail routing - Risk Assessment; and
∙ Rail routing – Notification
For the public, the most controversial portion of this rule will be those dealing with the changing railcar standards and the associate phase out dates. The summary document explains those this way:
∙ New tank cars constructed after October 1, 2015 are required to meet enhanced DOT Specification 117 design or performance criteria for use in an HHFT.
∙ Existing tank cars must be retrofitted in accordance with the DOT-prescribed retrofit design or performance standard for use in an HHFT.
∙ Retrofits must be completed based on a prescriptive retrofit schedule. The retrofit timeline focuses on two risk factors, the packing group and differing types of DOT-111 and CPC-1232 tank car.
∙ A retrofit reporting requirement is triggered if consignees owning or leasing tank cars covered under this rulemaking do not meet the initial retrofit milestone.
I will be doing a more detailed look at the specific provisions of this draft of the final rule in future blog posts.