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Recent Issue Summaries

What You've Missed... March/April 2011 Issue

A sampling of what you've missed in the March/April 2011 issue of HAZMAT Packager & Shipper...

As a Subscriber, you would have learned ....

about interesting facts to be found within PHMSA’s Docket HM-215K. Now that we have had since January 19th to digest and fully understand all that ended up in the final rules under HM-215K, it is useful to consider some of the outstanding issues.  The author takes a look at several appeals that have been filed and addresses issues giving problems.  Knowing about these issues that are still up for further consideration could help you in deciding how you should proceed with implementing the new requirements.  HM-215K Issues.

about PHMSA’s March 11, 2011, Docket HM-247 NPRM on bulk loading and unloading. The DOT hazardous materials regulations need to clarify at what point DOT’s regulations first apply and at what point they are no longer applicable.  In other words, where does DOT’s jurisdiction over bulk transportation begin and end?  This is important because hazmat law generally preempts states and localities from issuing regulations that interfere with transportation regulations.  The author explains why the industry has been constantly frustrated with this long-standing rulemaking attempt.  He predicts that it will continue to be a controversial matter before being satisfactorily resolved.  PHMSA’s NPRM on Bulk Loading and Unloading.

that on March 2, 2011, PHMSA issued a final rule implementing enhanced inspection, investigation, and enforcement authority conferred on the Secretary of Transportation.  The rule allows for the opening, detaining, removing, and reclosing of packages, in addition to introducing expedited procedures for addressing imminent hazards. These new procedures expand the scope of inspections and create novel issues of custody and liability within commerce.  More specifically, have companies realized that subsequent responsibility for the safety and liability for the inspected hazardous material will now become more complexly shared?  PHMSA Implements Enhanced Enforcement Authority Procedures.

that under the ICAO/IATA requirements, international shipment of EHS materials by air as regulated dangerous goods is no longer optional.  Internationally, by air, those substances that meet the UN EHS criteria must be transported as dangerous goods.  However, when shipping domestically by air in the US, there are two options.  One may transport such material in accordance with the ICAO Technical Instructions or, an air carrier may transport in accordance with the regulations in the HMR.  Under § 171.4 which covers exceptions for marine pollutants, EHS transported in nonbulk packagings are not subject to the HMR when transported by road, rail or aircraft.  Be sure to read the author’s helpful guidance.  Environmentally Hazardous Substances Transported Domestically by Air in the U.S.

about various approaches to and attitudes of, the FAA in enforcement of the hazardous materials regulations applying to shipments found during transportation by air. The article particularly relates to undeclared shipments and the work product of FAA’s enforcement agents.  Answers to questions posed to FAA’s Chris Glasow, Director, FAA Office of Hazardous Materials.

about a public meeting held by the FRA on February 22, 2011, critical of the fact that, in recent times, the FRA has been less than timely in issuing One Time Movement Approvals (OTMAs).  The author reports on the discussions that took place and on various matters that could be taken into consideration in improving the administration of the program, hopefully, in a more responsive manner.  FRA Public Meeting on Rail Car One Time Movement Approvals.

about FRA’s recent Federal Register regulatory review notice and about its subsequent public meeting seeking comment on the agency’s process of granting rail movement approval (OTMA) requests for non-conforming packaging. FRA believes that a comprehensive review of its processes will ensure the continued efficient handling of movement approval requests while, at the same time, ensuring that all relevant safety aspects of such requests are adequately considered. Improving the Efficiency of Moving Nonconforming Packages by Railroad.

that on February 28, 2011, PHMSA published a final rule (HM-256) in the Federal Register that extends the current Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) texting-while-driving ban to HAZMAT drivers in both interstate and intrastate commerce. This is part of the ongoing DOT campaign ‘to end the dangerous practice of distracted driving’. PHMSA Final Rule Prohibits HAZMAT Drivers Texting.