Today the DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration published a 30-day information collection request (ICR) notice in the Federal Register for changes that it is proposing to make to their accident and incident reporting requirements for accidents involving crude oil trains. The 60-day ICR was published in April and I submitted comment to that ICR based upon a blog post made a few days before that were based on a draft version of the ICR that was published along with the FRA’s Emergency Order 30.
I mentioned my comment submission because a large portion of today’s ICR notice is taken up with the FRA’s responses to my comments (though they did get my first name wrong – Patrick not Peter).
The FRA somewhat agreed with my suggestion that an entirely new form would be needed to collect the data needed for a complete analysis of the crude oil train accidents. They noted that that was beyond the scope of the current ICR (which legitimately was for a revision to an existing reporting requirement) and reported that they intend “to continue considering other options for gathering additional information concerning rail cars carrying crude oil (and other hazardous materials) involved in reportable accidents”.
That was the only positive response to my comments. In response to my comment about their handling of residue cars the same as filled railcars, they noted that they were already doing that for all other railcar reporting requirements on the form. And to my complaint about the lack of data collection about railcar types and failure rate analysis they responded that would be considered in future rulemaking activities as well.
The FRA is soliciting public comments upon this ICR submission. Comments should be submitted to the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) by September 11th, 2015 and may be submitted via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
NOTE: While my suggestions and comments were not actually adopted in this instance, at least my comments were heard and considered. I urge anyone with an interest in Federal regulatory affairs to take any opportunity that is provided to respond to the governments. You may not get to see the changes you want to be made, but it is probably the only way that an individual American is going to have a direct chance to influence Government without spending a ton of money.