PHMSA Proposes Expanded Oil Spill Response Plan Rules for Railroads

Posted on 7/29/2016 by Roger Marks

In the Federal Register on Friday, July 29, the US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed a rulemaking to expand the comprehensive oil spill response plans (OSRP) required for railroads that transport “High Hazard Flammable Trains” (HHFTs). PHMSA also proposed updating the format of the comprehensive OSRPs and requiring railroads to share information with State and tribal emergency responders. 

PHMSA is proposing to incorporate by reference an alternative method for testing the initial boiling point for flammable liquids, the ASTM D7900 method. This rulemaking is part of an ongoing effort to fully realize provisions required by the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

See the rulemaking in the Federal Register here.

What Is a High Hazard Flammable Train (HHFT)?

A High-Hazard Flammable Train, as defined by US DOT in May 2015, is a train that carries more than twenty cars of a Class 3 flammable liquid in a continuous block. A train is also an HHFT if it includes thirty-six or more cars loaded with a Class 3 flammable liquid across the entire train.

Rail car transporting crude oil

Oil Spill Planning Requirements for Railroads

Required under the PHMSA Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) at 49 CFR 130, oil spill response plans for railroads must meet the requirements found in the Clean Water Act. That said, 49 CFR 130 requires comprehensive oil response spill plans only when oil is transported in volumes greater than 1,000 barrels or 42,000 gallons per package. Because a rail car carrying crude oil holds about 30,000 gallons, railroads are not currently covered under this 49 CFR requirement.

PHMSA’s proposed rulemaking will extend the comprehensive oil spill response plan requirement to apply to High-Hazard Flammable Trains.

Most, if not all, tank car shipments of crude oil are currently covered under PHMSA’s requirements for “basic plans,” which apply to containers with a capacity of 3,500 gallons or more. The proposed rulemaking will not change the requirements or applicability for basic plans. 

Ongoing Hazmat Rulemakings for Crude-by-Rail

As the volume of crude oil shipped by rail has increased at a breakneck pace over the past decade, PHMSA has pushed hard to bolster the safety of flammable liquids transported in tank cars. DOT finalized new requirements for crude oil rail shippers, rail carriers, and rail yards in May 2015. The 2015 rulemaking defined the terms “High-Hazard Flammable Train” (HHFT) and “High-Hazard Flammable Unit Train” (HHUFT), introduced operating restrictions for trains that carry large volumes of crude oil and other flammable liquids, bolstered the design requirements for these trains, and more.

49 CFR, IATA, and IMDG Code Hazmat Training

Be confident you know what to do to keep you shipments in compliance with new and changing requirements for ground, air, and vessel hazmat shipments. With fines for hazmat shipping mistakes rising to $77,114 per day, per violation on August 1, missing any of your responsibilities is more expensive than ever.

Join an expert Lion instructor and learn alongside hazmat experts from your area to fulfill US DOT, IATA/ICAO, and IMDG Code training mandates at the Complete Multimodal Hazmat Shipper Workshops. These engaging, effective workshops come to Atlanta, Nashville, Jacksonville, Houston, and Dallas in August and September. Sign up today! 

Tags: hazmat, new rules, PHMSA, shipping

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

The instructor was great, explaining complex topics in terms that were easily understandable and answering questions clearly and thoroughly.

Brittany Holm

Lab Supervisor

The instructor clearly enjoys his job and transmits that enthusiasm. He made a dry subject very interesting and fun.

Teresa Arellanes

EHS Manager

Best course instructor I've ever had. Funny, relatable, engaging; made it interesting and challenged us as the professionals we are.

Amanda Schwartz

Environmental Coordinator

Lion is easily and consistently the best option for compliance training. I've learned new information from every instructor I've had.

Rachel Mathis

EHS Specialist

Excellent job. Made what is very dry material interesting. Thoroughly explained all topics in easy-to-understand terms.

David Hertvik

Vice President

The instructor had knowledge of regulations and understanding of real-world situations. The presentation style was engaging and fostered a positive atmosphere for information sharing.

Linda Arlen

Safety & Environmental Compliance Officer

We have a very busy work schedule and using Lion enables us to take the course at our own time. It makes it easy for me to schedule my employees' training.

Timothy Mertes

Hazmat Shipping Professional

The training was impressive. I am not a fan of online training but this was put together very well. I would recommend Lion to others.

Donnie James

Quality Manager

I think LION does an excellent job of any training they do. Materials provided are very useful to my day-to-day work activities.

Pamela Embody

EHS Specialist

Having the tutorial buttons for additional information was extremely beneficial.

Sharon Ziemek

EHS Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Hazardous materials shipment rejections bear a big cost. Use this guide to end operational and logistical disruptions that severely impact your bottom line.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.