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July 5 -- The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Department of Transportation (DOT), is publishing this Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to solicit stakeholder feedback on initiatives PHMSA is considering that may modernize the Hazardous Materials Regulations and improve efficiencies while maintaining or improving a current high level of safety. To fully engage with stakeholders, this ANPRM solicits comments and input on questions related to 46 distinct topics under consideration. Any comments, data, and information received will be used to evaluate and potentially draft proposed amendments. Comments must be received by October 3, 2023.

PHMSA, in consultation with its modal partners, is publishing this ANPRM to solicit stakeholder input on initiatives PHMSA is considering that may modernize its Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171–180) in order to improve hazardous material transportation efficiency, improve transparency and stakeholder engagement, and better accommodate technological innovations—all while maintaining or improving public safety and environmental impacts.

PHMSA regularly reviews HMR requirements to ensure that the regulations continue to serve a useful safety purpose. In accordance with executive order (E.O.) 12866, PHMSA periodically reviews the HMR, and constantly seeks input from the public in the form of regulatory petitions, to ensure that the regulations improve the health, safety, and well-being of the American public without unreasonable costs on society. . . .

PHMSA periodically revises the HMR based on changing economic, technological, and safety conditions. Moreover, PHMSA addresses requests to add, amend, or delete a regulation from diverse stakeholders through our petition process (see §§ 106.95–106.105). PHMSA also regularly reviews special permits (documents that permit activities not otherwise allowed under the HMR provided the applicant is able to demonstrate it will maintain an equivalent level of safety) and adopts the provisions of special permits with broad potential applicability and satisfactory safety records into the HMR for general use. Additionally, PHMSA participates in the development of international standards for the transportation of hazardous materials, including the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI), the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), and the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods—Model Regulations. PHMSA updates the HMR biennially to reflect the most recent changes in these and other international regulations to maintain harmonization with international requirements and facilitate international commerce. . . .
 
The Department has received additional regulatory modernization topics through petitions and internal review efforts. PHMSA believes these additional topics reflect changing technologies, transportation trends, and economic conditions and therefore deserve our consideration. However, PHMSA understands there is value in obtaining additional information on the potential safety and economic impacts for these topics to inform specific changes to the HMR in the future. Thus, the intent of this ANPRM is to raise awareness about these topics, gather more information, and further evaluate the safety and environmental benefits as well as the feasibility of proposing changes to the HMR. PHMSA will review and evaluate all comments received and late-filed comments to the extent practicable.
 
Federal Hazardous Materials Transportation law authorizes the Secretary to “prescribe regulations for the safe transportation, including security, of hazardous materials in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce” (49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.). The Secretary has delegated this authority to PHMSA (49 CFR 1.97(b)). The HMR are designed to achieve three primary goals: (1) ensure that hazardous materials are packaged and handled safely and securely during transportation; (2) provide effective communication to transportation workers, emergency responders, and the general public of the hazards of the materials being transported; and (3) minimize the consequences of an accident or incident should one occur. The hazardous materials regulatory system is a risk management system that is prevention-oriented and focused on identifying safety or security hazards and reducing the probability and consequences of a hazardous material release.

As new technologies are developed, understanding of the risks inherent in the transportation of hazardous materials may change. New technologies can potentially provide new opportunities to improve packaging, hazard communication, and incident minimization. PHMSA recognizes new technologies and techniques can potentially reduce costs and burdens to society but remains focused on our primary mission to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of hazardous materials, including energy products, that are essential to our daily lives. Any change to the existing safety system in the HMR—e.g., containment, communication, and incident mitigation—must be carefully evaluated when considering cost savings or cost burdens from a regulation.

Therefore, we are publishing this ANPRM to solicit comments on the safety, environmental, and economic impacts of regulatory modernization initiatives suggested by the regulated community and other stakeholders. To assist us in properly compiling information that we receive, when responding to a specific question below, please note the topic letter and question number in your comment. When providing estimates of economic impact or other quantitative information, please describe the basis for estimates, including data sources and calculations. With respect to cost data, both granular (i.e., per unit costs), aggregate, and programmatic (both one-time implementing and recurring) cost data are particularly helpful in PHMSA's evaluation of proposed changes to the HMR. When estimates are approximate or uncertain, consider using a range or specifying the distribution in other ways. . . .
 
Topics Under Consideration:

A. Evaluation of Carrier Maintenance of Emergency Response Information
B. Non-Bulk Packaging, Intermediate Bulk Container, and Large Packaging Periodic Retest Extension
C. Use of Non-Bulk Package Test Samples for Multiple Tests
D. Aerosol Classification Alignment
E. Residue IBC Exceptions
F. Requirements for Damaged, Defective, or Recalled Lithium Cells and Batteries
G. Sampling and Testing Program for Unrefined Petroleum-Based Products
H. Basic Oil Spill Response Plan Applicability
I. Standards Incorporated by Reference Update
J. EX-Number Display Requirments
K. Section 173.150 Ethyl Alcohol Exception
L. Limited Quantity Training Exception
M. Exceptions for Small Quantities of Division 4.3, PG I Material
N. Recycling Safety Devices
O. Creation of Basic Description and Shipping Description Definitions
P. Removal of the 60-Day Renewal Requirement for Approvals and Special Permits
Q. Design Certifying Engineer Experience
R. Oxidizing Gases by Air
S. Part 176 Vessel Requirements Update
T. LTD QTY Shipping Paper Exception by Vessel
U. Convention for Safe Containers Data Plate and Inspection Requirements
V. Identification of Freight Containers in Rail Transportation
W. Exceptions for Rail Transport of Lithium Batteries for Purposes of Recycling  and Disposal
X. Tank Car Manway Inspections
Y. Acid Resistant Manways for DOT 111A100W5 Tank Cars
Z. Tank Car Thermal Protection Standard
AA. Unoccupied Locomotive Train Placement
BB. Offering a Tank Car After Qualification Expiration
CC. Non-Destructive Examination
DD. Updating Requirements for Transporting Hazardous Materials on Passenger Carrying Motor Vehicles
EE. EPA 27 Test Method for Cargo Tanks
FF. Mounting Pads for Cargo Tank Damage Protection Devices
GG. Cargo Tank Hydrostatic Test Medium
HH. Cargo Tank Thickness and Corrosion Inspection Requirements
II. Remove Exceptions for Cargo Tank Inspections
JJ. Segregation of Detonating Explosives for Highway Transportation
KK. Cargo Tank Reflectivity
LL. Cargo Tank Registered Inspector Training and Qualification
MM. Cargo Tank Design Certifying Engineer Training and Qualification
NN. Cargo Tank Registered Inspector Verification and Documentation
OO. Cargo Tank Design Certifying Engineer Verification and Documentation
PP. Cargo Tank Registered Inspector Revised Definition
QQ. Cargo Tank Design Certifying Engineer Revised Definition
RR. NTSB Safety Recommendations R–20–1 to R–20–4
SS. Placard Display on Intermediate Bulk Containers
TT. Emerging Technologies

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-13903 [32 pages]

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