Friday, February 26, 2016

OMB Approves Revised FRA Accident Report ICR

On Wednesday the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that it had approved “with change” the information collection request (ICR) from the DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration for changes to their Accident/Incident Reporting and Recordkeeping ICR. The revision requested by FRA would add 30 hours to the annual reporting burden due to the collection of some additional information on accidents including crude oil railcars.

Response to Public Comments

The FRA only received comments from one person (yours truly) on their 60-day ICR notice (see my blog post). They correctly pointed in the supporting document (para 8; .doc download link) that they submitted to OIRA out that the addition of a more detailed reporting form for crude oil related accidents as I suggested would require a separate rulemaking and would thus be outside of the scope of this ICR. They did note that they would “continue to evaluate whether it needs more data as part of a comprehensive, long-term improvement in its information collection activities for the rail transportation of crude oil and the rail transportation of hazardous materials in general”.

This could be included in the High-Hazard Flammable Train (HHFT) oil spill response NPRM submitted earlier this week to OIRA.

OIRA Limits Approval

OIRA took an unusual step with their approval of this change. The previous version of this ICR was due to expire in May of next year. The revised ICR is now set to expire before that date on February 28th, 2017. OIRA has also set additional requirements on DOT before they request a normal extension of this ICR before that date. These include a requirement for a DOT report on a “joint PHMSA-FRA plan, coordinated with OST, to create a single system for electronically reporting accident information involving trains, pipelines, and hazardous materials and eliminates duplicative reporting requirements”.

There is a possibility (probably remote) that such a plan could be included in the same NPRM mentioned above.

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