HOMELAND SECURITY (TSA SECURITY PLAN) / A “certified air carrier” legal term of art operated under a security plan previously approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). After observing the loading of an aircraft of the certified air carrier, TSA inspectors determined that the certified air carrier had failed to adequately implement security measures mandated by its plan. An administrative law judge agreed and imposed an $18,000 fine, which the TSA Administrator upheld. The certified air carrier petitioned the D.C. Circuit for review and the court upheld the TSA’s action.

Suburban Air Freight, Inc. v. Transportation Security Administration, No. 12-1171 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, June 14, 2013). Copy of court-issued opinion available here.

TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (FEES FOR TWIC & HAZMAT ENDORSEMENTS) / U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is, “removing specific fee amounts from regulations regarding security threat assessments (STAs) and credentialing for Hazardous Materials Endorsements (HMEs) and Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs). These provisions include State collection of the HME fee, TSA collection of the HME fee, and collection of the TWIC fee. Removing specific fee references will enable TSA to have the necessary flexibility to lower or increase fees as necessary to meet the statutory obligation to recover its costs.”

“Provisions for Fees Related to Hazardous Materials Endorsements and Transportation Worker Identification Credentials.”

April 25, 2013. Final Rule.

The regulation takes no position on whether fees will go up or go down. But this blog is not creating a pool to bet on which way that will work out. Note in particular the reference to, “enable[ing] TSA to have the necessary flexibility to lower or increase fees as necessary to meet the statutory obligation to recover its costs.” 

TSA (ADVANCE AIR CARGO SCREENING PILOT PROGRAM) / U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration extends and expands its Advance Air Cargo Screening pilot program, “for an additional six months and reopening the application period for new participants for 30 days.” The program: “The ACAS pilot is a voluntary test in which participants submit a subset of required advance air cargo data to CBP at the earliest point practicable prior to loading of the cargo onto the aircraft destined to or transiting through the United States.”

“Extension of the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) Pilot Program and Reopening of Application Period for Participation.” 

April 23, 2013. General Notice.

HOMELAND SECURITY & AVIATION / Here U.S. Customs and Border Protection re-opens application period for new participants for 15 days on Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) pilot program (January 8. 2013).

The Trade Act of 2002 ushered in new post-9/11 requirements that carriers by ocean, rail, motor carrier and air provide U.S. CBP with advance documentation of the freight they were brining into the United States from abroad at ports and border crossings. This U.S. CBP program provides for a pilot program to allow screening in advance of what the Trade Act of 2002 requires with hoped-for efficiencies to both the carriers and U.S. CBP. 

Nota bene: This U.S. CBP screening both under the Trade Act of 2002 and under this pilot program is distinct from screening of air cargo against terrorist threats conducted by the Transportation Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Continue reading

RAILROAD / U.S. Surface Transportation Board entered partial decision on tariff rules for Toxic-by-Inhalation and Poisonous-by-Inhalation freight carried by railroads under their common carrier obligations – Little in the way of clear lines drawn at this stage, STB deferred decisions on (1) priority train requirement, and (2) three TIH/PIH cars per train limit, pending comments that STB seeks from FRA, PHMSA and TSA.

Who is affected? Railroads; shippers of TIH / PIH freight.

(November 28, 2012, Decision of entire Board on petition by C.F. Industries, Inc. and several other chemical shippers and trade associations for the U.S. STB to “declare invalid and unenforceable certain requirements promulgated by RailAmerica, Inc., and several of its railroad subsidiaries regarding rail transportation of [TIH and PIH]”.

“Little in the way of clear lines drawn at this stage”? U.S. STB’s statement accompanying this decision leaves quite a lot unanswered. Continue reading