Final Rule HM-264A: Suspension of LNG by Rail
On September 1, PHMSA published the final rule “HM-264A: Suspension of HMR Amendments Authorizing Transportation of Liquified Natural Gas by Rail,” which temporarily suspends the July 2020 rule allowing the transportation of liquified natural gas (LNG) by tank car. The suspension, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), will ensure no rail tank car transports LNG before June 30, 2025 or when updated research on safety and the revised rulemaking are completed, whichever is earlier.
This suspension will minimize potential risks to public health, safety and the environment. Since 2021, when the proposed suspension was posted for public comment, it has received more than 10,000 public comments, showing widespread support. The suspension will give time for PHMSA, in conjunction with the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering as well as our Canadian regulator counterparts, to complete critical research on transporting cryogenic liquids like LNG (and hydrogen) by rail more safely. This research is expected to conclude in the next year or so and will inform future federal safety regulations from PHMSA and the FRA.
This final rule is effective October 31, 2023.
Notice of Public Meeting: Lithium Battery Air Safety Advisory Committee
The Lithium Battery Air Safety Advisory Committee will be meeting on November 2, 2023, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM EDT, at DOT Headquarters in Washington, DC (1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building). The final agenda will be posted on the Lithium Battery Air Safety Advisory Committee website at least 15 days in advance of the meeting.
This meeting is open to the public, including a virtual option. Requests to attend the meeting, to speak during the meeting, or to submit written materials to be reviewed during the meeting must be sent by October 18, 2023, either via email ([email protected]) or to the contacts listed in the Federal Register notice below.
Federal Register notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/10/03/2023-21883/lithium-battery-air-safety-advisory-committee-notice-of-public-meeting?utm_source=federalregister.gov&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=subscription+mailing+list
EXTENDED: HM-265A: Modernizing Regulations to Improve Safety and Efficiency
On July 5, 2023, PHMSA published the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) “HM-265A: Modernizing Regulations to Improve Safety and Efficiency” to the Federal Register. Based on feedback from industry stakeholders, internal PHMSA review, NTSB safety recommendations, and modal safety partners, the ANPRM addresses 46 separate areas where the requirements of the HMR may need to be updated to increase efficiency while improving safety. Topics addressed in the ANPRM include those related to UN Performance Oriented Package testing, tank car safety, hazardous material employee training, and updates to standards incorporated by reference, among others.
The public comment period for this ANPRM has been extended, in response to a request from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. Comments are now due by December 4, 2023. For questions, please contact Mr. Eamonn Patrick at [email protected].
EXTENDED: HM-263: FAST Act Requirements for Real-Time Train Consist Information
In June, PHMSA published a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) aimed at improving public safety and preventing environmental impacts by strengthening requirements governing railroads’ provision of hazardous materials information to responders during a hazmat incident. This proposal is a response to mandates in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The proposal would require all railroads to always maintain — and update in real-time — accurate, electronic information about rail hazmat shipments in a train consist that would be accessible to authorized emergency response personnel. Required information would include the quantity and position of the shipment on the train, the shipment’s origin and destination, and a designated emergency point of contact at the railroad. Railroads would also be required to proactively “push” that information to authorized local first response personnel as soon as the railroad is aware of an accident involving any hazardous materials.
The public comment period for this NPRM has been extended, in response to a request from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. Comments are now due by October 27, 2023. For questions, contact Dirk Der Kinderen at (202) 366-8553.
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