Comments Sought on ATOFINA Chemicals Application for Preemption Determination
Nov 1, 2000 12:00 PM, MODERN BULK TRANSPORTER STAFF
Interested parties are invited to submit comments on an application by ATOFINA Chemicals Inc for an administrative determination whether federal hazardous material transportation law preempts certain Louisiana requirements concerning hazmat incident notification and reporting. In the application, ATOFINA challenges Section 32:1510, which provides, in part, that:
A) Each person involved in an incident, accident, or the cleanup of an incident or accident during transportation, loading, unloading, or related storage in any place of a hazardous material subject to this chapter shall report immediately by telephone to the department if that incident, accident, or cleanup of an incident or accident involves:
- A fatality due to fire, explosion, or exposure to any hazardous material.
- Hospitalization of any person due to fire, explosion, or exposure to any hazardous material.
- A continuing danger to life, health, or property at the place of the incident or accident.
- An estimated property damage of more than $10,000.
B) A written report shall be submitted to the department on an approved form. Each report submitted shall contain the time and date of the incident or accident, a description of any injuries to persons or property, any continuing danger to life at the place of the accident or incident, the identity and classification of the material, and any other pertinent details.
C) In the case of an incident or accident involving hazardous materials which is not subject to this chapter but which is subject to Title 49 and Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the carrier shall send a copy of the report filed with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to the department.
ATOFINA argues that the reporting requirements in Section 32:1510 are preempted because they concern "the written notification, recording, and reporting of the unintentional release in transportation of hazardous material" and are not substantively the same as the requirements in 49 CFR 171.15 and 171.16. Section 171.15 contains the federal requirements for immediate notification of certain hazmat incidents, and 171.16 contains the federal requirements for submitting detailed hazmat incident reports to DOT.
The company states that Sections 171.15 and 171.16 require the carrier to provide immediate notification of certain hazmat incidents, whereas Louisiana's statute is much broader and requires that each person involved in certain hazmat incidents or accidents immediately notify the state. ATOFINA asserts that there can be many persons involved in an incident such as a carrier or the owner of the goods, and that this "duplicate reporting" could be confusing to people responding to the incident.
Finally, ATOFINA contends it is impractical to apply Section 32:1510 to manufacturers and that it will be difficult for manufacturers to comply with the requirement. ATOFINA contends that manufacturers and carriers do make arrangements to ensure that the carrier has the responsibility for making immediate notification required under federal regulations.
Comments received on or before Dec 1, 2000, and rebuttal comments received on or before Jan 16, 2001, will be considered before an administrative ruling is issued by RSPA's Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety. Rebuttal comments may discuss only issues raised in comments received during the initial comment period. Comments must refer to Docket #RSPA-00-7906 and may be submitted to the Dockets Office either in writing or electronically. Send three copies of each written comment to the Dockets Office, US DOT, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St SW, Washington DC 20590-0001. The application and all comments are also available on-line through the home page of DOT's Docket Management System at http://dms.dot.gov.
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