Rail

PHMSA, industry reps testify to House on hazmat safety funding

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Washington – Stakeholders from the hazmat transportation industry testified April 2 during a House Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee hearing on funding priorities for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's next hazmat safety programming reauthorization.

The current authorization under MAP-21, a surface transportation funding bill signed into law in July 2012, expires Sept. 30. Those testifying discussed the need for new standards for rail tank cars and funding to improve the safety of shipping volatile oil by rail from the increasingly popular Bakken Formation.

A representative from the International Association of Fire Fighters testified on needed funding for firefighter training on responding to hazmat incidents.

Also at the hearing, a representative for the Arlington, VA-based American Trucking Associations discussed the trucking industry’s priorities for federal hazmat safety programming. ATA is requesting the withdrawal of PHMSA’s 2011 proposed rule that, due to concerns about crash-related fires, would prevent carriers from transporting flammable liquids using trucks with unprotected wetlines.

ATA argues that a Government Accountability Office report released in September 2013 found that PHMSA’s proposal was flawed and may not significantly improve safety.