DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIONÆS HAZMAT RULES TAKE EFFECT
The Department of Transportation’s new rules affecting the security of “hazardous materials transported in commerce” went into effect Tuesday as previously announced.
The rules broadly amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations [49 CFR, parts 171-180] as follows:
* Shippers and carriers subject to hazmat registration requirements or who offer or transport select agents and toxins regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must “develop and implement security plans.”
* Hazmat employers “must provide security training to their hazmat employees … this training must also include a component covering how to recognize and respond to possible security threats.”
In a statement, the DOT said it had received “over 270 comments” on the proposed hazmat rules.
In response to the American Trucking Association, which expressed concern “that the proposed measures will be expensive … and introduce inefficiencies to the manner in which hazardous materials are transported,” the DOT said, “we do not agree that the imposition of prudent, common-sense security measures will cause massive disruptions in the movement of hazardous materials.”
To comments that the Department of Homeland Security would be better suited to issue transportation-related regulations, the DOT said the Homeland Security Act of 2002 gave the DOT authority to “prescribe regulations for the safe transportation, including security, of hazardous material in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce.”
“This final rule is the first step in what may be a series of rulemakings” in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, the DOT said.
Commentators also said the inclusion of registration numbers on shipping papers for hazmat cargoes would be expensive to implement. “While we believe that commenters overstated the costs, we agree that the paperwork burden is not justified by the limited security benefits that might result. Therefore, the registration number proposal is not adopted in this final rule,” the DOT said.
Other comments about the new rules noted that shippers and carriers of hazmat materials used in agricultural applications don’t have street addresses for consignees, “making it difficult to complete a shipping paper.” The DOT said it did not agree. “However, having considered the adverse comments received on this proposal, we are not adopting it in the final rule,” the Department said.
For the full DOT response, see the Federal Register, March 25, Vol. 68, No. 57, pages 14509-14521.