PHMSA calls for comments on hazmat security plans
Sep 22, 2006 10:48 AM
Tank Truck carriers and others involved in the shipment of hazardous materials will have an opportunity November 30 to comment on just what materials fall under the national transportation security plan being developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), according to information published in the Federal Register September 21.
PHMSA has scheduled the meeting that will address, among other topics, outstanding petitions requesting that certain materials be excepted from the security plan requirements.
The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), the predecessor agency to PHMSA, published a final rule March 25, 2003, that amended the hazardous materials regulations (49 CFR parts 171-180) to require carriers and shippers of certain hazardous materials to develop and implement security plans.
RSPA concluded that the most significant security risks involve the transportation of certain radioactive materials; certain explosives; materials that are poisonous by inhalation, certain infectious and toxic substances; and bulk shipments of materials, such as flammable and compressed gases, flammable liquids, flammable solids, and corrosives.
Based on this security risk assessment, the HM-232 final rule currently in effect requires persons who offer for transportation or transport a hazardous material in an amount that requires placarding or select agents to develop and implement security plans.
Meanwhile, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) petitioned PHMSA to create a new subset of hazardous materials that are security-sensitive. ATA supports the materials and quantities that are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hazmat safety permit requirements as the starting point for determining security sensitive hazardous materials. In addition to those materials, ATA suggests that PHMSA add the following materials from the United Nations high consequence dangerous goods list:
•bulk shipments of Division 2.1.
•bulk shipments of Class 3, PG I and II.
•Class 3 and Division 4.1 desensitized explosives (quantity to be determined).
•bulk shipments of Division 4.2, PG I.
•bulk shipments of Division 4.3, PG I.
•bulk shipments of Division 5.1, PG I.
•bulk shipments Division 5.1 perchlorates, ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate fertilizers.
•division 6.2 infectious substances of Category A (quantity to be determined).
•any quantity of select agents.
•bulk shipments of Class 8, PG I.
ATA uses quantities greater than 3,500 gallons or 5,000 pounds to define bulk for purposes of security planning.
In addition, the Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) petitioned PHMSA to reevaluate the security requirements in subpart I of part 172 of the regulations to enhance international harmonization and to better utilize available resources in enhancing hazardous materials transportation security.
COSTHA noted that the list of hazardous materials in the regulations that are subject to the security plan requirements differs from the list of high consequence dangerous goods in the United Nations recommendations. COSTHA cites several examples of hazardous materials, such as automobile batteries, inks, paint, flavoring extracts, that are based on hazard class and quantity, require placarding are subject to the security plan requirements. COSTHA suggests it is highly unlikely a terrorist would use these materials to cause loss of lives, destruction of property, or damage to the environment.
The COSTHA petition requests that PHMSA adopt the same criteria as the UN recommendations for materials that are subject to the security plan requirements, or as an alternative eliminate the security plan requirement for quantities of hazardous materials for which placarding under the provisions of subpart F of part 172 is required.
PHMSA is requesting comments on the issue that address:
•What is the best basic approach to security plans? Is the current approach correct or should security plans be required only for hazardous materials in threshold quantities that are known to pose significant security risks?
•Are there ways to lessen the burdens of security plan requirements on companies with minimal security risks?
•Should baseline security requirements or guidelines be established when security plans are not required?
•What factors should be considered in determining whether security risks of a specific hazardous material or class of hazardous materials are significant enough to require preparation of a security plan?
•What role should Packing Groups play in determining the need for security plans?
•How should the quantities of hazardous materials transported be considered when determining whether a security plan is required?
•Does easy availability of a hazardous material in specific quantities outside of transportation play a role in determining whether a security plan should be required?
•Should uniform security plan requirements apply across all modes of transportation or should the triggering criteria (hazardous class and quantity) be mode-specific?
•What factors should be considered when determining whether specific hazardous materials, classes or quantities thereof, should be excepted from security plan requirements?
•How should the determination of transportation security risk account for specific hazardous materials or classes of materials that by themselves do not pose a security risk, but that could present a security risk in combination with other materials?
•What compliance or enforcement issues should be considered as we re-assess current security plan requirements?
•Should company size or geographic location (e.g., specific region of the country or urban or rural) play a role in determining whether a security plan is required?
•Does the Government need to provide more information on the specific security concerns that cause the need for preparation of a security plan for certain hazardous materials to assist in security plan preparation?
•Should the Government maintain an evolving list of hazardous materials for which security plans are required based on changing threats and scenarios?
The public meeting will be held at the Department of Transportation (DOT), Nassif Building, Room 2230, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington DC, beginning at 9 am. The meeting and security planning is being coordinated with other DOT administrations, including FMCSA, Federal Railroad Administration, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Also involved is the Transportation Security Administration of the Department of Homeland Security.
For more information, click here for the publication in the Federal Register.
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