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The Journal of HazMat Transportation

A Publication of PRI International, Inc.


Volume 27, Number 5 January/February 2017

In This Issue 

PHMSA Penalties:  November and December 2016               


Summary of U.S. D.O.T. Rule & Rulemaking Activity             

Also go to, Critical Dates. Summaries are linked to our reports and Federal Register notices, and go back several years.

Compliance Dates:  (Newly Updated. Also go to for this file, containing links to official documents and our reports.)



A Summary Review of Recent and Important DOT Letters of Interpretation of the Hazardous Materials Regulations from November and December 2016.

  • Definition of Offeror as Applied to a Crude Oil Purchaser
  • Shipping Description for Diesel Fuel, Combustible Liquid
  • Description for a Cargo Tank Motor Vehicle
  • Incident Reporting on Road Closures
  • Providing Hazardous Materials Placards to Motor Carriers
  • Standards for Fiberboard Used for UN 4G Packaging Components 

By Ed Mazzullo, Technical Advisor



Fire Training for Railroads  
By Edward W. Pritchard, Senior Partner, Paladin Consulting Group

Mr. Pritchard updates readers on two fronts: current bills being acted on by the U.S. Congress, and actions taken by individual states. On the Congressional side, he reports on a possible RESPONSE Act Sub-Committee, before addressing another bill in front of the Senate that would authorize additional K-9 teams in train stations. Finally, he provides an update on the state of California’s now-blocked attempt to collect taxes from railroads to offset the cost associated with derailments involving hazmat.



Shippers Beware: FAA is Tightening its Rein on Lithium Batteries           
by Ronce Almond, Marina O’Brien, and Andy Orr, The Wicks Group PLLC

This legal analysis provided by the experts at The Wicks Group examines recent actions taken by PHMSA, FAA, as well as Congress, to address safety concerns over lithium batteries aboard airplanes. Starting with the recent Samsung Galaxy Note 7 prohibition, this report examines the larger regulatory scheme for lithium batteries as well as practical points for shippers to take into consideration.



Two DOT Letters of Interpretation for the Special File     
By Wade Winters, President, Regulatory Resources, Inc.

Mr. Winters examines some complications around the application of the term “package,” in the context of two letters of interpretation from PHMSA and some contradictory information provided on the definition of “liquid” and “solid.”



Reader Questions:    

- Exceptions for Combustible Liquids Shipped in IBCs              
By Ed Mazzullo, Technical Advisor

- Flammable Solvent Mixtures and IMDG Marine Pollutant Criteria    
By Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor

- Can Excess or Unused Material be Transported Under Reverse Logistics? 
By Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor



PHMSA’s HM-215N International Harmonization Final Rule        
By Ed Mazzullo, Technical Advisor  with Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor

In an unprecedented sequence of events, PHMSA issued a Public Inspection copy of the HM-215N Final Rule, only to withdraw it two days before official publication in the Federal Register, due to a freeze imposed on new federal regulations pending review from the new US Administration. Interested parties should read this report for more information on the changes adopted in the draft Final Rule. 

In HM-259 NPRM, PHMSA Proposes to Align the HMR with Current International Standards for Air Transportation      
By Ed Mazzullo, Technical Advisor

The proposals in PHMSA’s HM-259 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking respond to four petitions for rulemaking and would amend air transportation provisions in the HMR with regard to intermediate packagings for certain materials, notification of the pilot-in-command (NOTOC), exceptions for portable medical electronic devices carried by passengers and crew, and inspection and securement of hazardous materials packages. Mr. Mazzullo provides an in-depth report, looking at the petitions as well as the proposed amendments.



Report on the United Nations Biennium: Results of 47th through 50th Sessions of the UNSCETDG    
By Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor

Senior Technical Advisor Frits Wybenga, having attended each meeting in Geneva this biennium, provides subscribers with this thorough report on the results of the Sub-Committee’s work over 2015-2016. Read for a full picture on the decisions made at the UN International level which will impact international modal and competent authority regulations.  The report also looks at the work to be picked up in the next biennium.



Report on the 32nd Session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals
By Michele Sullivan, Ph.D., Technical Advisor

Dr. Sullivan provides a report on the last session of the biennium for the UNSCEGHS’ 32nd session from December 7 to 9, 2016. Read for an overview of decisions to be made to be incorporated into the 7th revised edition of the UN GHS Purple Book. This report also takes a brief look at work to be taken up in the next biennium.

Australian GHS Implementation             
By Michele Sullivan, Ph.D., Technical Advisor

In this report, Dr. Sullivan looks at how one country has implemented the GHS (based on the 3rd revised edition) and uses it to demonstrate how a country’s unique implementations can lead to unique challenges.



The Journal of HazMat Transportation’s Exclusive Comments on the U.S. DOT Letters of the Hazardous Materials Regulations 
By Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor

  • Rail tank car Minimum Inspection Requirements
  • Properties of fiberboard Used in UN 4G boxes
  • Multiple Interpretations Stemming from State Enforcement Activities Regarding Diesel Fuel as a Combustible Liquid


U.S. DOT Letters of Interpretation of the Hazardous Materials Regulations: November and December 2016. 19 letters sorted, indexed and provided verbatim.

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