PHMSA shuts down wetlines rulemaking
Jun 7, 2006 1:36 PM
After spending years and countless dollars trying to come up with a workable rule that would prohibit retained product in exposed piping (wetlines) on tank trailers, the bureaucrats at the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have given up. They announced termination of the HM-213B rulemaking in the June 7 Federal Register.
PHMSA wrote in the announcement that “In the final analysis, we did not identify a cost-effective approach for addressing the risk of wetlines transportation through regulatory action. Based on the revised regulatory evaluation, we believe the benefits of a final rule prohibiting…wetlines only on newly constructed CTMVs (cargo tank motor vehicles) may slightly outweigh the costs. However, given the sensitivity of the cost-benefit determination to variations in the data and the inherent margin for error in the overall analysis, it is possible, even for newly constructed CTMVs, (that) the costs of a regulatory solution will outweigh potential benefits.”
In contrast to the disappointment at PHMSA, there is elation in the tank truck industry, where petroleum haulers were facing the potential of having to invest many millions of dollars to retrofit their fleets with expensive and complex wetlines purging systems. Many have said the rule could have gutted the industry.
”We certainly are happy to have this issue finally put behind us,” says John Conley, president of National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC). “It is important to note that the system worked. One government agency perceived a problem, and another government agency proposed a solution. The industry--including the American Trucking Associations, Petroleum Marketers Association of America, the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association, and the American Petroleum Institute—developed a detailed response that challenged that solution. The government obviously reviewed our comments seriously and withdrew the proposal. We appreciate receiving a fair hearing and truly believe they reached the right conclusion.”
Greg Price, president of United Petroleum Transports and currently NTTC chairman, added: “As a carrier, I am delighted that this rule has been withdrawn. We would have had to spend at least $3,000 per petroleum trailer to comply, and there is little evidence there would have been any improvement in safety. We are mostly small- and medium-sized family businesses in the petroleum transportation industry, and this rule would have been financially devastating. I am proud of the work NTTC did in demonstrating the flaws in this proposal, and I am pleased that DOT (Department of Transportation) listened to us. This is why people join trade associations.”
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