PHMSA Proposes to Incorporate Rail Special Permits into the Hazardous Materials Regulations

Posted on 8/19/2011 by James Griffin

Yesterday at 76 FR 51324, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed to amend the Hazardous Material Regulations to incorporate certain widely used and long-standing special permits applicable to rail transport of hazmat.
The special permits in question are:
  • SP-7616: Telephone and Electronic Data Interchange Shipping Papers for Rail Transport
  • SP-9388: Measuring Liquefied Gases Loaded into a Tank Car With Metering Devices as an Alternative to Measuring These Cars by Weight
  • SP-11184: Alternative Pressure Relief Requirements for Pressure Relief Devices for Tank Cars Containing Certain Flammable Liquid Materials
  • SP-12095: Alternative Tank Car Qualification Program
  • SP-12905: Transportation in Commerce of Certain Tank Cars With Identification Plates in Lieu of Stamping the Tank Car Heads
  • SP-14333: Straight Threads on Multi-Unit Tank Cars
  • SP-14622: Alternative Start-to-Discharge Pressure Requirements for Tank Cars Containing Chlorine
PHMSA is also responding to two petitions concerning the use of electronic shipping papers for all modes of transportation (P-1497) and removing references to the Association of American Railroads AAR-600 portable tank program (P-1567).
If SP-7616 is adopted into the regulations, it would permit the use of electronic or telephonic communications in place of printed shipping papers for rail shipments. Petition P-1497 requests that PHMSA consider extending this allowance to all modes of transportation.
As current provisions of the HMR are already more restrictive than the AAR-600 program, Petition P-1567 requests that PHMSA eliminate confusing references to an obsolete consensus standard that could create a lower standard of safety.
Comments must be received by PHMSA by October 17, 2011.

Tags: DOT, hazmat shipping

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