RSPA sent back to drawing board on wetlines proposal
Nov 4, 2001 12:00 PM, Charles E Wilson, Editor
A draft proposal that would prohibit wetlines on cargo tanks used to transport hazardous materials has been returned to the Department of Transportation’s Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) for reconsideration. The action was taken by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which has been reviewing the proposed rule since November 2000.
The request for reconsideration unusual for a rulemaking of this sort, according to Mike Stevens with DOT. He said this is the first time OMB had made such a request. The request was contained in a letter from OMB, copies of which were handed out at the National Tank Truck Carriers Cargo Tank Maintenance Seminar October 29-31 in Chicago IL.
In the letter, OMB questioned RSPA’s analysis. Four specific concerns were outlined: First, OMB said it was worried that retrofit requirements in the proposed regulation may increase the risks of injury and fatality to workers who must perform this work. Second, OMB believes that analysis of the cost/benefit aspects of the proposed rule suggest that RSPA should propose a regulatory alternative that applies only to new cargo tanks and does not require retrofit of existing tanks. Third, RSPA and DOT should more fully examine and consider, based on the best reasonably obtainable information, whether the fatalities and injuries associated with past accidents with cargo tanks resulted from the accidents themselves or from explosions resulting from the release of a flammable liquid. Finally, OMB believes other aspects of DOT’s and RSPA’s analysis need to be more fully examined to allow for a reasoned determination regarding whether the benefits of this regulation justify the costs.
RSPA officials said at the NTTC Cargo Tank Maintenance Seminar that they will be unable to respond to all of the points in the OMB letter until early next year.