Friday, July 18, 2014

OMB Receives PHMSA Rail Oil Spill Response ANPRM

Yesterday OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that it had received an advance notice of proposed rulemaking from DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) for revisions to requirements for oil spill prevention and response plans for rail transport.

This proposed rulemaking was not included in the latest Unified Agenda published by the Administration so there is no official record of what the proposed rulemaking would address. It would seem to me that a primary focus would be the ending of the current de facto exemption from oil spill and response planning requirements that railroads and crude oil shippers have based upon the amount of oil in a single railcar.

There are a couple of approaches that could be taken. The most sweeping would be to lower the current 42,000-gal minimum requirement {49 CFR 130.31(b)} for a container of oil that would require the preparation and submission of an oil spill prevention and response plan in accordance with §130.31. Or it could establish a requirement establishing minimum number of railcars in a single train that would trigger the requirement. The first would put more of the burden on the shipper for plan preparation and the second would place more of that burden on the railroads.

It will be interesting to see how long this proposed rulemaking remains under review at OIRA.


Anonymous said...

Rail transport of oil should be under the same criteria as vessels and facilities with approved responders and plans that address timelines for response in each geographical area of risk. A rail car carries 30,000 gals of crude. Many trains pull up to 100 rail cars of crude oil. That's a lot of oil to move without spill response plans.

michael jordan said...

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