The United States Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) today published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) proposing to amend USDOT/PHMSA regulations for hazardous materials (“hazmat”) to “maintain alignment with international standards”. NPRMHazmat, 77 Fed. Reg. 49168 (August 15, 2012). To harmonize its hazmat regulations with international standards in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, and the U.N. Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (Model Regulations), PHMSA proposes to make a wide variety of amendments to its own regulations, including changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations, and vessel stowage requirements. These proposed changes would affect 49 CFR Parts 171, 172, 173, 175, 176, and 178.
PHMSA estimates the net benefits of the proposed international harmonization at approximately $62 million, plus the resulting enhanced safety, reduction in hazmat incidents, and enhanced protection for the environment. Comments on the NPRM must be received by PHMSA on or before October 15, 2012 [Docket No. PHMSA-2012-0027].