MARITIME (HAZMAT) – “The Coast Guard is amending its regulations concerning the transfer of hazardous materials to and from bulk packaging on vessels. The Coast Guard is expanding the list of bulk packaging approved for hazardous material transfers to include International Maritime Organization (IMO) Type 1 and Type 2 portable tanks, United Nations (UN) portable tanks, and Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs).”

“Bulk Packaging To Allow for Transfer of Hazardous Liquid Cargoes”

 Final Rule. September 6, 2013.

“The Coast Guard is also expanding the list of allowed hazardous materials to provide greater flexibility in the selection and use of packaging in the transportation of hazardous materials. This rule will eliminate the need to obtain special permits or Competent Authority Approvals to use IMO Type 1 or Type 2 portable tanks, UN portable tanks, or IBCs.”

RAILROAD (Post-Lac-Mégantic Developments) / PHMSA held their two-day meeting in late August to discuss regulatory responses, then PHMSA issued a formal call for ideas in the form of an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Canada’s counterpart to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, wrote to PHMSA and Transport Canada (1) calling for new labeling regulations for flammable liquids carried in railcars, and (2) questioning the adequacy of Class 111 tank cars for carrying “low flash” flammable liquids like crude oil.

The September 11 letters from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada should catch the attention of this sector for their specificity and, each in their own way, far-reaching potential industry impact (letter to Transport Canada here, and letter to PHMSA here). Of course the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, like its U.S. counterpart, the NTSB, has a persuasive voice – but it is up to Transport Canada and PHMSA, respectively, to actually issue new rules.

In addition, post- Lac-Mégantic proposals are pending in the U.S. Congress and the Canadian Parliament.

PHMSA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – again, a document that is actually an extended call for comments without offering a template bearing the agency’s imprimatur (yet) – is available here.

It is hard to overstate the regulatory significance of the Lac-Mégantic catastrophe for carriage of crude oil by rail tank car operations.