“Hazardous Materials: Enhanced Enforcement Procedures-Resumption of Transportation.”
May 22, 2013. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
“On July 6, 2012, the President signed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or the MAP-21, which included the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2012 (HMTSIA) as Title III of the statute. Public Law 112-141, 126 Stat. 405, July 6, 2012. Section 33009 of HMTSIA revised 49 U.S.C. 5121 to include a notification requirement. Congress also directed the Department to address certain hazmat transportation matters through rulemaking:
- The safe and expeditious resumption of transportation of perishable hazardous material, including radiopharmaceuticals and other medical products that may require timely delivery due to life-threatening situations;
- The means by which non-compliant packages that present an imminent hazard are placed out-of-service until the condition is corrected;
- The means by which non-compliant packages that do not present a hazard are moved to their final destination;
- Appropriate training and equipment for inspectors; and
- The proper closure of packaging in accordance with the hazardous material regulations.
“We are proposing in this rulemaking, as described further below, to clarify the Department’s position with respect to perishable hazardous material, by amending the opening of packages provision of the Department’s hazardous materials procedural regulations for the opening of packages, emergency orders, and emergency recalls. The amendment recognizes the special characteristics and handling requirements of perishable hazardous material by clarifying that an agent will stop or open a package containing a perishable hazardous material only after the agent has utilized appropriate alternatives. We are also proposing to codify the statutory notification requirement in HMTSIA by incorporating into the regulations the Department’s current notification procedures from the operations manual. Finally, we are proposing to add a new provision to address appropriate equipment for inspectors. For the remaining mandates to address certain matters related to the Department’s enhanced inspection, investigation, and enforcement authority, we are proposing no additional regulatory changes. We believe that the Department’s current rules that were previously established through notice and comment rulemaking and existing policies and operating procedures thoroughly address the hazmat transportation matters identified by Congress as requiring additional regulations. For instance, in a prior rulemaking, the Department established, in Part 109, procedural regulations for opening packages, removing packages from transportation, and closing packages. These regulations include the definition of key terms, including perishable hazardous material. The regulations address how the Department’s agents will handle non-compliant packages that present an imminent hazard and those that do not. Moreover, the rules address when and how the Department’s agents will open a package. And, if an agent opens a package, there are procedural rules for closing the package and ensuring its safe resumption of transportation, if applicable. In addition, the Department developed an internal operations manual for training and use by its hazmat inspectors and investigators across all modes of transportation. The operations manual’s guidance is intended to target and manage the use of the enhanced inspection and enforcement authority in a uniform and consistent manner within the Department. At this time, we do not have any data or other information that indicate the rules, policies, and operating procedures currently in place are inadequate or that additional regulations are necessary.”