Thursday, July 18, 2013

PHMSA Submits Rail Petition ANPRM to OMB

On Tuesday the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration submitted an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to the Office of Management and Budget (OBM) that would enhance safety and revise and clarify the HMR applicable to the transportation of hazardous materials by rail. This rulemaking is being initiated in response to petitions for rulemaking submitted by the regulated community and NTSB recommendations that are associated with the petitions.

According to the Abstract for this rulemaking in the Unified Agenda this rulemaking would:

• Identify elements of non-conformity that do not require a movement approval from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA);
• Correct an unsafe condition associated with pressure relief valves (PRV) on rail cars transporting carbon dioxide, refrigerated liquid;
• Revise outdated regulations applicable to the repair and maintenance of DOT Specification 110, DOT Specification 106, and ICC 27 tank car tanks (ton tanks);
• Except ruptured discs from removal if the inspection itself damages, changes, or alters the intended operation of the device; and
• Enhance the standards for DOT Specification 111 tank cars used to transport Packing Group I and II hazardous materials.

Since this ANPRM is in response to industry petitions, the political pressure that might delay OMB consideration of this rulemaking is probably not present, so we may see approval of this ANPRM within a month or so.

In light of the recent crude oil train derailment, fires and explosion, it will be interesting to see exactly what changes are being considered for the standards for DOT Specification 111 tank cars.

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