HR-22, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act—the five-year, $305 billion transportation bill announced by US Congress earlier this week—includes a number of items of interest to hazmat shippers, carriers, rail operators, manufacturers, oil and gas professionals, and others.
Below is a review of the hazmat items found in Title VII of the FAST Act. The full text of the Act is available online. General Hazmat Items in the HR-22 FAST Act
Hazmat by Rail Items in the HR-22 FAST Act
- Makes changes to the procedures for hazmat special permits;
- Orders PHMSA to withdraw the “wetlines” rule proposed in January 2011 for external product piping on cargo tanks transporting flammable liquids;
- Requires the US Comptroller General to review the regulations for “third-party labs” that help businesses classify new explosives under 49 CFR 173.56; and
- Allows for states to waive the requirement for a commercial driver to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement on his or her Class A license to carry small volumes of diesel (> 1,000 gal.) when the truck is placarded appropriately and the driver is acting as an employee of a custom harvester operation, agrichemical business, farm retail outlet and supplier, or livestock feeder.
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- Orders DOT to create regulations for real-time electronic emergency response hazmat reporting for Class I railroads;
- Requires the Comptroller General to evaluate emergency response information carried by train crews transporting hazardous materials;
- Sets a schedule for phasing out all tank cars that do not meet the requirements of DOT-117, 117P, or 117R specifications;
- Pressures US DOT to finalize the Hazardous Materials: Oil Spill Response Plans for High-Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFTs) rule proposed in August 2014; and
- Orders a number of hazmat transportation studies and reports on topics including crude oil characteristics research, hazmat by rail liability, electronically control pneumatic (ECP) brakes for rail cars.
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