PHMSA amends hazmat regulations for transport

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on May 14 issued a final rule (.pdf file) that amends the Hazardous Materials Regulations "to incorporate provisions contained in certain widely used or longstanding special permits that have an established safety record. A special permit sets forth alternative requirements -- or a variance -- to the requirements in the HMR in a way that achieves a safety level at least equal to the safety level required under the regulations or that is consistent with the public interest."

Officials said the revisions are intended to provide wider access to the regulatory flexibility offered in special permits and eliminate the need for numerous renewal requests, reducing paperwork burdens while maintaining an appropriate level of safety. The amendment is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1.

The agency also issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf file) to prescribe specific test standards and protocols to determine the integrity of inner packagings and receptacles used to transport hazardous materials by air.

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