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March 13, 2013
Industry petitions prompt hazmat changes

In response to industry petitions, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has published six revisions to the hazardous materials regulations (HMRs).  The amendments cover lab markings on regulated packagings, document retention, gasohol, self-reactive solids and liquids, smokeless powder, and dangerous cargo manifests on vessels. 

PHMSA notes that the Administrative Procedure Act requires federal agencies to give interested persons the right to petition an agency to issue, amend, or repeal a rule.  In addition, two Executive Orders from President Obama instruct federal agencies to conduct retrospective reviews of regulations and amend those that are outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome.  The current action falls within PHMSA’s regulatory review initiative, which also gives the regulated community the opportunity to participate in the development of regulatory amendments and engage in information exchanges with stakeholders.

Marks, records, gasohol, et al.

In its final rule, PHMSA finalizes six of seven amendments that have been proposed in the May 24, 2012, FR.

  • Revise 49 CFR 178.3 to clearly indicate that a manufacturer or third-party laboratory mark may not be used when continued certification of a packaging is conducted by someone other than the original manufacturer or third-party testing laboratory unless specifically authorized by the original manufacturer or third-party testing laboratory.
  • Revise 49 CFR 178.601(l), 178.801(l), and 178.955(i) to relax the record retention requirements for packaging test reports and provide a chart to clearly identify the retention requirements.  Specifically, PHMSA is limiting the document retention period for persons conducting initial design testing to 5 years beyond the next successful required periodic retest.
  • Revise the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT; 49 CFR 72.101) by removing the listing for ‘‘NA1203, Gasohol, gasoline mixed with ethyl alcohol, with not more than 10% alcohol’’ and removing reference to gasohol in Sections 49 CFR 172.336(c)(4) and 172.336(c)(5).  PHMSA agreed with petitioners who stated that this mixture is more accurately classified as gasoline.
  • Revise 49 CFR 172.101 to refer to Section 173.151 to harmonize internationally and provide a limited quantity exception for Division 4.1, self-reactive solids and self-reactive liquids, Types B through F.  The revision allows the limited quantity exception for these materials within the United States. 
  • Allow smokeless powder classed as a Division 1.4C material to be reclassed as a Division 4.1 material, thereby relaxing the regulatory requirements for these materials without compromising safety.  Division 1.4 explosives pose less of a hazard in transportation than Division 1.3 explosives, which are already allowed to move as Division 4.1 materials.
  • Allow the dangerous cargo manifest (DCM) to be in locations designated by the master of the vessel apart from ‘‘on or near the vessel’s bridge’’ while the vessel is in a U.S. port to ensure that the DCM is readily available to communicate to emergency responders and enforcement personnel the presence and nature of the hazardous materials on board a vessel.  PHMSA had been informed by an industry association that when a vessel is docked in port during loading and unloading operations, the bridge is often left unattended and locked for security purposes.

Not adopted

The one proposed amendment that was not made final was incorporation of ASTM’s D4976–06 Standard (Specification for Polyethylene Plastics Molding and Extrusion Materials).  The intent of the proposal was to provide a range of acceptable resin tolerances in the plastic drum and intermediate bulk container (IBC) material.  PHMSA agreed with an industry association that commented that incorporation of this standard by reference without including additional information, a provision that was not included in PHMSA’s May 2012 proposal, would defeat the purpose of the amendments by imposing an additional burden on industry.

PHMSA amendments to the HMRs in response to industry petitions were published in the March 7, 2013, FR.

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