PHMSA seeks comment on proposed rule for hazmat transport
The comment period ends Feb. 22 for a proposed rule (.pdf file) that would allow more flexibility for special permits to transport hazardous materials.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on Dec. 22 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the regulation and incorporate provisions for 44 special permits for new safety products and technologies. Among the 12 proposed amendments are provisions regarding salvage cylinders, alternative packaging for hazardous waste, and authorizations for rail tank cars to exceed maximum capacity and weight limitations with specific Federal Railroad Administration approval.
According to PHMSA, companies or individuals are allowed to use special permits to package or ship hazardous materials in a manner that varies from regulation as long as an equivalent level of safety is maintained. Agency officials say special permits allow the hazardous materials industry to quickly and safely integrate new products and technologies into the production and transportation stream.
The NPRM follows the September release of a Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General audit, which found PHMSA grants special permits and approvals without exercising its authority to review applicants' safety histories and without coordinating with partner safety agencies.