Wednesday, June 29, 2016

PHMSA Increases HMR Fines

The DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) published an interim final rule (IFR) in today’s Federal Register (81 FR 42266-42268) increasing the minimum and maximum fines for violations of hazardous material law (HML) or hazardous material regulations (HMR). DOT was directed by Congress to periodically adjust these fines in the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (§701 of PL 114-74).

The table below shows the existing penalties and the new ones established in this IFR. The adjustment multiplier is based upon changes in the Consumer Price Index since the fine was established or last changed.

Knowing violation – Max
Severe violation – Max
Training violation – Min

A severe violation is a knowing violation of the HML or HMR that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of the property.

Congress mandated this change in penalties and provided no discretion in the matter to DOT so the publish and comment process is unnecessary. The changes go into effect on August 1st, 2016.

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