PHMSA to move 44 special permits to hazmat regulations
The U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed incorporating 44 'special permits' for new safety products and technologies into the hazardous materials regulations.
'This rulemaking is our first step in incorporating tested transportation technologies and operations from longstanding special permits into the regulations, thereby promoting safety and facilitating innovation,' said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman in a statement.
Hazardous materials special permits allow a company or individual to quickly and safely test and integrate new products and technologies into the production and transportation stream. Once new technologies are proven to be at least as safe as the current regulations, they can be approved for general use by rulemaking.
The proposed rulemaking would incorporate 44 special permits into the regulations, including those that address salvage cylinders, alternative packaging for hazardous wastes, aerosols transported for recycling or disposal, and authorizations for rail tank cars to exceed the maximum capacity and weight limits with specific Federal Railroad Administration approval.
Comments about the proposed rulemaking are due to PHMSA by Feb. 22. For more details, access the Dec. 22 Federal Register.
PHMSA's management of special permits came under sharp criticism in September from House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar after his review a report from the DOT's Inspector General.
'The PHMSA culture appears plagued by a belief that the agency should make things as easy as possible for the industry it should be regulating,' Oberstar said in remarks during a Sept. 10 hearing.
During her Sept. 23 nomination hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, Quarterman said she promised to review PHMSA's special permit process.
To read more, access the November American Shipper, pages 55-57.