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Railroads Challenge California Hazmat Rail Fee

Posted on 10/13/2016 by Roger Marks

In August, the state of California passed a law to require railroads to collect a $45 fee to transport rail cars carrying certain hazardous materials.

In a case that could carry future implications for hazardous materials rail carriers and shippers nationwide, that fee is now under fire from railroads. Railroads’ concerns include how a fee will be enforced and how such a fee would affect the logistics of transporting small quantities of hazmat that may be exempt from existing DOT regulations.

Railroads will be required to assess the fee to businesses that ship or transport any of 25 hazardous materials now listed in California’s Office of Emergency Services regulations in Title 19 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Chapter 4.1, Article 1, Section 2701.

The list of 25 hazmat commodities includes:

  • Petroleum Crude Oil (UN 1267 and UN 1270)
  • Gasoline (UN 1203, UN 1993, and UN 3295)
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas or LPG (UN 1075 and UN 3161)
  • Alcohols, NOS (UN 1987)
  • Anhydrous ammonia (UN 1005)
  • Toluene (UN 1294)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (UN 2014, UN 2015, UN 2984, and UN 3149)
California adopted the hazmat fee in part as a response to a spate of train derailments in the US and Canada over the past few years, often involving shipments of crude oil. The text of the regulations implementing the hazmat rail fee, including the full list of 25 hazardous materials commodities, can be found here.

Hazardous materials rail shipment

More New Rules for Hazmat Rail Shipments

US DOT, too, has focused on bolstering the regulations for hazmat rail shipments, which make up a small percentage of all the hazardous materials shipped in the US—the rest travels by highway, pipeline, air, and vessel.

In July, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration proposed an expansion of oil spill response plans (OSRP) for railroads that transport “high-hazard flammable trains,” or HHFTs. An HHFT, defined by US DOT in a previous hazmat rail rulemaking, is a train that carries more than 20 cars of a Class 3 flammable liquid in a continuous block or 36 or more cars loaded with a Class 3 flammable liquid across the entire train.

New Online Course – Hazmat Rail Shipper

Get up to date on the unique, additional rules that apply to hazmat rail shipments! Whether you offer or transport hazmat shipments in rail tanks, bulk containers, or non-bulk packages, US DOT requires all “hazmat employees” to complete training once every three years. The new Hazmat Ground Shipper –Additional Rail Requirements online course is designed to satisfy US DOT’s function-specific training requirement for hazmat rail personnel who work for shippers and rail carriers (49 CFR 172.704(d)). 

Tags: 49CFR, DOT, hazmat shipping, Rail

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