Wednesday, December 30, 2015

PHMSA Withdraws Wetlines Rulemaking

Today the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration published a notice in the Federal Register (80 FR 81501-81503) withdrawing its rulemaking action with regards to tank truck wetlines. The notice of proposed rulemaking initiating this rulemaking was published in the Federal Register (76 FR 4847-4854). The rulemaking is being withdrawn at the direction of Congress {§7206 of the FAST Act (PL 114-94 which has not yet been printed)}.

The proposed rule would have prohibited the transportation of flammable liquids “in unprotected product piping (generally referred to as the ‘wetlines’) on the cargo tank of existing and newly manufactured DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles”. The transportation of any material
that is a Division 6.1 (poisonous liquid) material, oxidizer liquid, liquid organic peroxide or corrosive liquid in wetlines is already prohibited by 49 CFR 173.33(e).

The notice does include most of the standard analysis that PHMSA would have done in support of a final rule on this rulemaking. It includes a review of the comments received on the NPRM as well as a revised cost-benefit analysis of the proposed rulemaking. Independently of the Congressional mandate PHMSA concluded that the proposed rule “prohibiting the transportation of flammable liquids in wetlines is unlikely to be cost beneficial”.

PHMSA does note that it “will continue to examine this issue, particularly by monitoring flammable liquid wetlines incidents, in consideration of any future actions”.

Because this was a Congressionally mandated action and PHMSA has no discretion in the matter, public comments were not solicited.

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