Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hazmat Legislation Introduced in Senate

Earlier this month Sen. Lautenberg (D,NJ) introduced S. 1952, the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2011. This legislation, co-sponsored by the Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, addresses a number of issues concerning hazardous materials transportation and operations by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. It is essentially the PHMSA reauthorization bill.

The provisions of this bill address the following areas:

• Accounting for the results of grant supported training programs for emergency responders;

• Conducting a Paperless Hazard Communications Pilot program trial;

• Reporting to Congress on improving the data collection, analysis and reporting on hazmat accidents and incidents;

• Initiating rulemaking on the loading and unloading of bulk hazardous materials;

• Establishing a hazardous material enforcement training program;

• Making minor revisions to regulations regarding inspections;

• Increasing civil penalties;

• Modifying the authority to issue special permits, approvals and exclusions; and

• Requiring State reporting of hazmat highway routing designations.

• Authorizing spending for the hazardous materials regulations programs.

The Senate Commerce Committee met last week in executive session and adopted this bill without changes. Chairman Rockefeller mentioned that this bill would probably be rolled into a larger surface transportation authorization bill in the second session of the 112th Congress.

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