DOT to Adopt Old Special Permits into Hazardous Materials Regulations

Posted on 7/26/2012 by Roger Marks

In previous installments of LionBlog’s coverage of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) highway bill, we discussed rising civil penalties and Congress’ take on the DOT’s Enhanced Enforcement Authority. Today, we will take a look at instructions Congress had for the DOT’s hazmat Special Permits program.
In the Special Permits, Approvals, and Exclusions section of the MAP-21 law, Congress instructed the DOT to review and revise the requirements and procedures pertaining to special permits. Congress hopes to clarify the process and make alternative, safe procedures more easily available to industry on the whole. A review of the special permitting program has been laid out over the next 3 years, with important deadlines as follows:
July 1, 2013 – By this date, the DOT must review all special permits older than 10 years. Congress hopes that many of these special permits will be officially incorporated into the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR)—the idea being that if the alternative procedures outlined in the special permit are widely applicable and equally as effective as the procedures in the regulations, these alternative procedures should be part of the rules so that industry can take advantage of them without applying for coverage under the special permit.
July 1, 2014 – By this date, the DOT will issue regulations establishing a standard operating procedure for the evaluation of special permits and the administration of the special permit/approval program. Included in this will be procedures for automatically incorporating into the HMR special permits with longstanding safety records.
July 1, 2015 – By this date, the DOT must incorporate permits 10 years old or older into the regulations. The DOT must provide an explanation for any special permits it decides will not be added to the rules.
Have you been using a special permit for 10 or more years? Are there any special permits you’d like to see officially adopted into the HMR? How will easier access to alternative procedures affect your hazmat operations? Let us know in the comments below!
In the upcoming final installment of LionBlog’s coverage of the MAP-21 highway bill, we’ll discuss some miscellaneous amendments made to the Hazardous Materials Regulations, including Congress’ plans for wet-lines, electronic shipping papers, improving incident reporting, training inspectors, and the hazmat safety permit program. Stay tuned!

Tags: DOT, hazmat shipping, MAP 21, new rules

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