In a letter sent on February 3 to incoming Secretary of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, 22 corporations and trade associations sought "the earliest possible approval" of a final rule that would address hazmat transport safety issues by harmonizing the US hazardous materials regulations with international dangerous goods standards that took effect on January 1.

The release and publication of DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration final rule was initially posted on the Federal Register website but was put on hold per the regulatory freeze imposed by the January 20 White House memorandum to the heads of all federal departments and agencies.

"Its promulgation will not create any new risks in transport. In fact, it will ensure the US hazardous materials regulations maintain alignment with international standards, thus assuring safety and avoiding disruptions to supply chains," the letter stated. "Avoidance of such disruption is critically important to all of the undersigned manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, exporters, importers, carriers, and industries."

"Our endorsement of the regulation also is consistent in our long-standing endorsement of harmonizing the US HMR (hazardous materials regulations) with international standards. Harmonization avoids confusion among shippers, carriers and others in the logistics chain, maximizes safety, and reduces costs for US businesses," the letter said.