The US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) last week issued emergency Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) compliance waivers for persons performing recovery or cleanup work in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands under the direction of US EPA Region 2 or the US Coast Guard.
The transport of petroleum products is a priority, as the storm knocked out power to the entire island and nearly 90% still lack electricity. About 80% of gas stations and 75% of grocery stores are now in service, according to statusPR.
PHMSA previously issued 3 HMR waivers for the areas affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma
This waiver applies to persons conducting operations under the direction of EPA Region 2 or the US Coast Guard within the Hurricane Maria disaster areas of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
For a period of 7 days starting on September 28, PHMSA waived the hazmat training, testing, and certification requirements for those conducting cleanup and recovery efforts in the area. It also created a streamlined set of requirements for transporting fuel in the affected areas.
PHMSA’s Authority to Grant Hazmat Waivers
Under 49 CFR 1.97(b)(3), PHMSA is authorized to waive compliance with any part of the HMR, provided that the waiver is:
- In the public interest;
- Not inconsistent with the safety of hazmat transport; and
- Necessary to facilitate safe movement of hazardous materials into, from, and within an area of major disaster or emergency.
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