TSA extends rail
hazmat security rule
Dec 30, 2008 8:51 AM
The effective date of one section in a final rule that addresses railroad hazardous materials security, including operations at certain fixed-sites, has been extended to April 1, 2009, according to information published in the Federal Register December 19.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it was extending the rule so that affected parties would have more time to conduct training and implement procedures to come into compliance with the chain of custody and control requirements of the rule.
TSA issued the rule November 26, 2008, that codifies the scope of TSA's existing inspection program and requires regulated parties to allow TSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to enter, inspect, and test property, facilities, conveyances, and records relevant to rail security.
The rule also requires that regulated parties designate rail security coordinators and report significant security concerns. In addition, freight rail carriers and certain facilities handling specified hazardous materials must be able to report location and shipping information to TSA upon request and implement chain of custody requirements to ensure a positive and secure exchange of specified hazardous materials. TSA also clarifies and amends the sensitive security information protections to cover certain information associated with rail transportation.
In the November 26 rule publication, TSA said it is is revising the definitions of "rail hazardous materials shipper" and "rail hazardous materials receiver" in 49 CFR 1580.3 to clarify that this rule applies to the operator of the fixed-site facility. TSA is retaining the term "rail hazardous materials shipper" to establish that responsibility for compliance with the requirements in parts 1520 and 1580 rests with the operator of the fixed-site facility that has a physical connection to the general railroad system of transportation and offers, prepares, or loads any of the covered hazardous materials for transportation by rail.
Although the facility operator may elect to assign responsibility for performing pre-transportation functions to an agent or contractor, the facility operator remains responsible under the rule for compliance with all applicable provisions of this final rule. In the event of noncompliance, TSA may hold the shipper/facility's operator responsible for the violation and subject to enforcement action.
TSA also noted that a fixed-site facility operator is a "person" for purposes of being able to ship/offer or receive hazardous materials covered by the rule. TSA also said it is retaining the term "rail hazardous materials receiver" in the final rule rather than using the Department of Transportation (DOT) term consignee. A fixed-site receiving facility is not merely a delivery location, but also the legal entity responsible for compliance with this final rule in its role as a receiver or unloader of the covered hazardous materials. While DOT regulations no longer apply after the delivering railroad carrier departs a rail hazardous materials receiver facility, TSA's final rule extends beyond that time and covers the transportation-related areas of these facilities that receive or unload covered rail cars.
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