Harvison: Wetline comment delay too brief
Feb 10, 2005 12:42 PM
Cliff Harvison, president of the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC), said a 60-day comment delay on a federal wetline proposal falls short of the time that the industry requires to thoroughly respond. He made the remarks on a Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) proposal to prevent flammable liquid from remaining in tank trailer wetlines.
"I'm most disappointed in RSPA's decision," Harvison says. "NTTC was not being frivolous when we sought a 180-day extension from the original February 28 response date. Remember, the agency refused to release any of the information they had forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget to justify the rulemaking; thus, those who must respond to the docket must start from scratch."
NTTC had requested a 180-day delay after RSPA published the wetline proposal December 30, 2004. At that time, RSPA set a comment deadline for February 28. RSPA has now agreed to a 60-day delay to April 28.
"Frankly, I'm fearful that the agency is not really concerned about the quality or depth of the responses they receive relevant to a safety issue that they consider high priority," Harvison added.
The rule proposal (49 CFR Part 173) would limit flammable liquid in wetlines to one liter (.26 gallon) or less in each pipe after drained.
NTTC said earlier that it is concerned about the rule because of its requirement for tank trailer retrofitting to both existing and newly manufactured trailers.
In its deadline delay request to RSPA, NTTC pointed out that a number of assumptions made in the rule and regulatory evaluation are wrong and that an extension is necessary in order to solicit and submit correct data from the tank truck industry, according to the RSPA information.
Others in the transportation industry joining NTTC in the delay request were the American Trucking Associations, Petroleum Marketers Association of America, and the American Petroleum Institute.
Although the proposal does not apply to tankwagons, RSPA also wants comments on this exception.
RSPA is not proposing a specific method for achieving the standard. For example, a carrier may elect to install accident damage protection devices, or it may decide to equip each tank trailer with a system that will remove any lading remaining in unprotected wetlines after loading.
RSPA proposes to make the wetline changes effective two years after the effective date of a final rule and to permit carriers five years to phase in requirements applicable to existing cargo tank motor vehicles.
Following the two-year deferral period, each newly manufactured cargo tank motor vehicle, other than excepted truck-mounted tanks, would be subject to the new requirements.
Tank trailers would have to be brought into conformance on or before the date of each cargo tank motor vehicle's first scheduled pressure retest after the two-year deferral period.
Retrofits for existing tank trailers would be required to be completed no later than five years after the effective date of a final rule. The proposed seven-year transition period is needed to minimize the economic and operational impacts on carriers and ensure realistic progress in implementing these safety enhancements, RSPA said in the proposal.
To see the comment delay information, click here.
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