Monday, November 10, 2008

PHMSA HAZMAT Security Rule Comments – 11-07-08

There were 10 new comments posted on the proposed revision of the PHMSA HAZMAT transportation security rules. Special Effects Industry Comments There were a number of additional comments from members of the special effects industry opposing the decrease in the quantity of explosive devices that would require that the shipper to prepare a shipment security plan. There was no new information in any of these comments so I will simply list the commenters with links to their comments.
Guy Clayton Image Engineering, Inc Studio Effects, Inc Richard Stutsman Pamela Stevens Larz Anderson Joseph Jenkins
Institute of Makers of Explosives Comments The IME generally supports the proposed rule, but objects to some of the provisions. Specifically they object to the change from a ‘placarded amount’ to ‘any amount’ as the trigger point for Division 1.4 Explosives. They make a point similar to that made by the special effects industry comments that the ‘any amount’ requirement will almost certainly force Less Than Load (LTL) shipping companies to stop carrying these items. They also point out that the oil exploration industry would be adversely affected by such a curtailment. IME states that they do not know what PHMSA means by the term ‘Desensitized Explosives’. They request a clarification and listing of such materials by UN number. They would like further action on this rule delayed while they would have a chance to comment on those specific materials. IME points out a number of ‘inconsistencies’ in the way the NPRM deals with ammonium nitrate. They also object to the effective increase in the amount of solid ammonium nitrate (from 1001 lbs to 6,614 lbs) that would trigger the security rules. They note that the Oklahoma City bombing used only 4,000 lbs of ammonium nitrate. IME does object to the term “any quantity”. They believe that there should be a more specific minimum limit like one pound or one liter. The National Cotton Council Comments The NCC approves of the removal of baled cotton and lint from the requirements for ‘security planning, training, and documentation rules’ by eliminating those requirements for class 9 hazardous materials. They do object to the continued listing of ‘cotton’ as a hazardous material in 49 CFR § 172.101. My Comments on Comments It is nice to see a relatively small industry like the special effects conduct a fairly extensive letter writing campaign. Someone in that industry is watching the Federal Register and reading things carefully. I am sure that a volume of comments, all saying essentially the same thing, does not do much to sway a regulatory agency. A congressional or senatorial letter added to the list would be much more impressive. The single letter from IME is much more effective. The touch about adding the oil drilling industry as a potentially affected party was interesting. Personally, I am much more impressed by their recommendation to decrease the quantity of solid ammonium nitrate requiring security planning. Today is the last day for comments on this proposed rule. I’ll wait a couple of days and check one more time for comments.

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