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DOT/PHMSA RIN: 2137-AE91 Publication ID: Fall 2013 
Title: +Hazardous Materials: Rail Petitions and Recommendations to Improve the Safety of Railroad Tank Car Transportation (RRR) 
Abstract: PHMSA is considering amendments that would enhance safety and revise and clarify the HMR applicable to the transportation of hazardous materials by rail. This action responds to petitions for rulemaking submitted by the regulated community and NTSB recommendations that are associated with the petitions. Specifically, these amendments would identify elements of non-conformity that do not require a movement approval from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA); correct an unsafe condition associated with pressure relief valves (PRV) on rail cars transporting carbon dioxide, refrigerated liquid; revise outdated regulations applicable to the repair and maintenance of DOT Specification 110, DOT Specification 106, and ICC 27 tank car tanks (ton tanks); except ruptured discs from removal if the inspection itself damages, changes, or alters the intended operation of the device; and enhance the standards for DOT Specification 111 tank cars used to transport Packing Group I and II hazardous materials. 
Agency: Department of Transportation(DOT)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Prerule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 49 CFR 173    49 CFR 174    49 CFR 178    49 CFR 179   
Legal Authority: 49 USC 5101 et seq   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: This ANPRM is a crucial step by DOT in considering how to reduce the risks related to the transportation of hazardous materials by rail. Preventing tank car incidents and minimizing the consequences when an incident does occur are not only DOT priorities, but are also shared by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), industry, and the general public. These same groups also question the survivability of general service tank cars built to the current regulatory requirements. To this end, PHMSA will consider regulatory amendments to enhance the standards for tank cars, most notably, DOT Specification 111 tank cars used to transport certain hazardous materials and explore additional operational requirements to enhance the safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The authority of 49 U.S.C. 5103(b), which authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to ?prescribe regulations for the safe transportation, including security, of hazardous materials in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce.?

Alternatives: PHMSA and FRA are committed to a comprehensive approach to addressing the risk and consequences of derailments involving hazardous materials by addressing not only survivability of rail car designs, but the operational practices of rail carriers. Obtaining information and comments in an ANPRM will provide the greatest opportunity for public participation in the development of regulatory amendments, and promote greater exchange of information and perspectives among the various stakeholders to promote future regulatory action on these issues.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Given that we are in the ANPRM stage of this action, we are still determining the best path forward. As such, the costs and benefits have not yet been fully quantified. The ANPRM requests comments on both the path forward and the economic impacts.

Risks: DOT conducted research on long-standing safety concerns regarding the survivability of the DOT Specification 111 tank cars designed to current HMR requirements and used for the transportation of flammable liquids. The research found that special consideration is necessary for the transportation of flammable liquids in DOT Specification 111 tank cars, especially when a train is configured as a unit train. Through the research, DOT identified and ranked several enhancements to the current specification that would increase tank car survivability. The highest ranked options are low cost and the most effective at preventing loss of containment and catastrophic failure of a DOT Specification 111 tank car during a derailment.

Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  09/06/2013  78 FR 54849   
ANPRM Comment Period End  11/05/2013 
ANPRM Comment Period Extended  11/05/2013  78 FR 66326   
ANPRM Extended Comment Period End  12/05/2013 
ANPRM Analyzing Comments  12/00/2013 
Additional Information: HM-251; SB-Y; IC-Y; SLT-N; This ANPRM will provide the greatest opportunity for public participation in the development of regulatory amendments, and promote greater exchange of information and perspectives among the various stakeholders. This additional step will lead to more focused and well-developed proposals that reflect the views of all regulated entities. Comments received will be used in our evaluation and development of future regulatory action on these issues.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:   Public Comment URL:  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Ben Supko
Transportation Regulations Specialist
Department of Transportation
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE.,
Washington, DC 20590
Phone:202 366-8553

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