Earlier this week the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) published an advance notice of proposed regulation (ANPRM) in the Federal Register (82 FR 6451-6456) concerning electronic train consists for Class 1 railroads that transport hazardous materials. This rulemaking supports a congressional mandate from the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 (§7302, PL 114-94).
Section 7302 required the DOT Secretary to issue these regulations within one year of the passage of HR 22 which occurred on December 4th, 2015. This would authorize DOT to go directly to a final rule. Instead DOT is publishing this ANPRM to gather data to support the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) of this rulemaking.
PHMSA is asking four categories of questions to provide the requisite information. The categories are:
• Affected entities questions, 3 questions;
• Baseline questions, 11 questions;
• Implementation questions, 8 questions;
• Costs questions, 8 questions; and
• Benefits questions, 3 questions.
PHMSA is requesting public comment on this ANPRM. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # PHMSA-2016-0015). Comments should be submitted by April 19th, 2017.
Political Note: While President Trump has issued a directive to all Federal agencies to suspend rulemaking activities pending approval of his appointees, that should not be expected to stop this rulemaking. The FAST Act was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress that mandated that this rulemaking should proceed. The Trump administration is unlikely to stop this rulemaking and is legally obligated to proceed with this action.