U.S. DOT Proposes Safety Measures for Rail Transport of Flammable Materials

The agency also released new data on Bakken crude oil to support increased safety measures.
(Published Jul 28, 2014)

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on July 23 released the details of its comprehensive rulemaking proposal to improve the safe transporting by rail of large quantities of flammable materials (particularly crude oil and ethanol) in the form of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and a companion Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).

The agency also released a new report with data on Bakken crude oil to support increased safety measures.

The NPRM proposes enhanced tank car standards, a classification and testing program for mined gases, and liquids and new operational requirements for high-hazard flammable trains (HHFT) that include braking controls and speed restrictions. Specifically, within two years, it proposes the phase out of the use of older DOT 111 tank cars for the shipment of packing group I flammable liquids, including most Bakken crude oil, unless the tank cars are retrofitted to comply with new tank car design standards.

The ANPRM seeks further information on expanding comprehensive oil spill response planning requirements for shipments of flammable materials.

The NPRM is based on an ANPRM published by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) last September, and reflects feedback from more than 152,000 commenters. Both the NPRM and ANPRM are available for review on www.regulations.gov and are open for 60 days of public comment, starting July 23. Given the urgency of the safety issues addressed in these proposals, the PHMSA does not intend to extend the comment period.

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