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PHMSA on Incorporating Rail Special Permits into HazMat Regs

Posted in on Wed, Aug 15, 2012

In a final rule, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has amended the Hazardous Materials Regulations to incorporate provisions contained in certain widely used or longstanding rail special permits that have general applicability and established safety records. Special permits allow a company or an individual to package or ship a hazardous material in a manner that varies from the regulations provided an equivalent level of safety is maintained. Incorporating these special permits, PHMSA says, will provide users wider access to the regulatory flexibility offered in these special permits, eliminate the need for numerous renewal requests, reduce paperwork burdens, and facilitate commerce while maintaining an appropriate level of safety. This rulemaking also responds to two petitions for rulemaking concerning the use of electronic shipping papers and the removal of the Association of American Railroad’s AAR-600 portable tank program for previously adopted standards that meet or exceed the AAR-600 requirements.  The effective date is July 25, 2012.

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