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Recent Issue Summaries

What You've Missed... May/June 2011 Issue

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

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

about the resource constraints facing PHMSA in terms of time and personnel in administering the special permits and approvals programs.  When considering the application backlog, it is important to consider the ongoing changes at the agency following a critical review by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Transportation and U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee.  This article reviews the special permit program, and then describes the nature of ongoing reforms at PHMSA that underlie delays in the application process.  Delays and Reform in PHMSA’s Special Permit Program.

about the latest proposed iterations of HMTA revisions to the Act enacted in 2005 and that expired in 2008.  Since that time, industry, labor, public interest groups, and the Administration have been working with Congress to protect and refine aspects of the Act.  Not all parties want the same changes.  The most controversial issues center on (1) limitations on the transport of lithium batteries, (2) potentially dangerous requirements to retrofit wetlines of cargo tanks transporting flammable liquids, and (3) the overhauling of procedures and criteria used to issue, deny, revoke, or modify special permits and approvals, including the imposition of user fees to cover the costs of the new paperwork processing requirements.   The author illustrates why it is most important that industry representatives contact members of Congress to urge support or opposition to items of concern.  Hazardous Materials Transportation Act Reauthorization.

helpful information when implementing new HM-215K marking provisions concerning limited quantities.  Questions concerning the new requirements keep coming up.  The author discusses and provides answers to a couple more issues.  He notes that these are in addition to HM-215K appeals discussed in the March/April edition of the Journal which included many important issues concerning the new limited quantity requirements.  These are still outstanding and the author opines that we may not see responses to the appeals until midsummer.   Questions on Limited Quantity Matters: Marking Requirements.

that on March 9, 2011, the AAR submitted an important petition to the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) proposing new standards for the construction of Class 111 tanks that transport Packaging Group I or II materials.   In cooperation with University of Illinois, the AAR and RSI evaluated the effectiveness of adding certain safety features to a tank to reduce the estimated quantity of release from a tank given a train wreck.    The proposed requirements would apply to new construction.  The AAR petition does not recommend any modification to existing equipment.  For new construction, the AAR petition includes suggested detailed modifications for any tank car used to transport a Packaging Group I or II material.   PHMSA accepted AAR’s petition on May 11, 2011, acknowledging that the petition has merits for a rulemaking.  Expect action to be forthcoming. AAR Petitions DOT to Adopt New Railroad Tank Car Safety Standards for Packaging Group I and II Materials.

that PHMSA recently posted new guidance material regarding the transportation of marine pollutants on its website.  The issue of what is required when transporting marine pollutants is an area ripe for clarification, particularly as new criteria for marine pollutants and new provisions for limited quantities are being introduced.  Guidance on this subject is certainly welcome.  PHMSA and the US Coast Guard Issue new Guidance Document on Marine Pollutants Regulations.

that on June 20 thru 24, 2011, the UN’s Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) will be meeting in Geneva, Switzerland for their 39th Session to discuss potential revisions to the UN Model Regulations and the Manual for Tests and Criteria.   There are currently 21 proposed items for discussion on the provisional agenda summarized in this article for your ease of review. Provisional Agenda for the June UN TDG Meeting.