DG Digest: Marking Our One Year Anniversary with an Issue Packed-Full of DG News!

Released this week, the nation’s rail carriers now have an updated FRA emergency relief plan in place in the event of a transport incident. A BNSF Intermodal train paces the sunset through Auburn, Washington on January 16th, 2017. Image © 1/2017 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Happy Martin Luther King Day, everyone!  I hope that this Civil Rights pioneer’s great legacy will help to positively inform your week.  It’s also the first anniversary of this blog—the DG Digest is a year old today!  I enjoy bringing you the latest and greatest from the world of DG Transport, Environmental, and HS&E regulations each week, and I hope to do so for a long time to come.  Thanks for being part of the story!  Let’s dive in to this week’s brief:


The agency announced an extension for four Information Collection Requests (ICRs).  Specifically, the ICR’s affected are:

  • Extension until February 28, 2018 for OMB Control No. 2137–0586, ‘‘Hazardous Materials Public Sector Training & Planning Grants’’
  • Extension until March 31, 2019 for OMB Control No. 2137–0628, ‘‘Flammable Hazardous Materials by Rail Transportation’’
  • Extension until June 30, 2019 for OMB Control No. 2137–0613, ‘‘Subsidiary Hazard Class and Number/ Type of Packagings’’
  • Extension until June 30, 2019 for OMB Control No. 2137–0510, ‘‘Radioactive (RAM) Transportation Requirements.’’

Here’s your portal for the specifics


The agency has renewed its emergency order in respect to the flight ban in place on the Samsung Galaxy Note & device.  The renewal does include a certain relaxation of mandatory airport announcements to passengers.  See the renewal here


The Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee of the US Coast Guard will meet on February 28, March 1, and March 2, 2017, in Houston, TX to discuss committee matters relating to the safe and secure marine transportation of hazardous materials. These meeting will be open to the public. Here’s your portal to participate


  • The agency is correcting a final rule that appeared in the Federal Register of December 8, 2016 (81 FR 88732), regarding the establishment of new minimum training standards for certain individuals applying for their commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time; an upgrade of their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL); or a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement for the first time. The effective date of this correction is February 6, 2017.  See it here
  • In interesting news for a spectrum of subject entities, the agency is suspending its regulations requiring existing interstate motor carriers, freight forwarders, brokers, intermodal equipment providers (IEPs), hazardous materials safety permit (HMSP) applicants, and cargo tank facilities under FMCSA jurisdiction to submit required registration and biennial update information to the Agency via a new electronic on-line Unified Registration System (URS). During this suspension, entities needing to file will follow the same procedures and forms used to submit information to FMCSA as they do today.  The delay apparently reflects ongoing issues in starting up the new e-system proposed as far back as 2013.  See the latest update here


  • The agency today released its annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows releases of toxic chemicals into the air fell 56% from 2005-2015 at industrial facilities submitting data to the TRI program.  “Today’s report shows action by EPA, state and tribal regulators and the regulated community has helped dramatically lower toxic air emissions over the past 10 years,” said Jim Jones, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.  The report shows an 8% decrease from 2014 to 2015 at facilities reporting to the program contributed to this ten-year decline. Hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, toluene and mercury were among chemicals with significantly lower air releases at TRI-covered facilities. See the full brief here
  • The agency continues work under the authority of the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) In a new action, EPA is proposing to establish a risk-based screening process and criteria that it will use to identify chemical substances as either High Priority Substances for risk evaluation, or Low-Priority Substances for which risk evaluations are not warranted at the time of review. The proposed rule describes the processes for identifying potential candidates for prioritization, selecting a candidate, screening that candidate against certain criteria, formally initiating the prioritization process, providing opportunities for public comment, and proposing and finalizing designations of priority. Comments must be received on or before March 20, 2017. Here’s the full proposal
  • The new science of nanoscale manufacturing is coming under increased scrutiny.  EPA is establishing reporting and recordkeeping requirements for certain chemical substances when they are manufactured or processed at the nanoscale.   Specifically, EPA is requiring persons that manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process, or intend to manufacture or process these chemical substances to electronically report to EPA which includes insofar as known to or reasonably ascertainable by the person making the report, the specific chemical identity, production volume, methods of manufacture and processing, and existing information concerning environmental and health effects. This rule involves one-time reporting for existing discrete forms of certain nanoscale materials, and a standing one-time reporting requirement for new discrete forms of certain nanoscale materials before those new forms are manufactured or processed.   This final rule is effective May 12, 2017. See it here


The agency remains attentive to the needs of shippers and carriers in the event of an emergency.  In 2009 FRA published a direct final rule establishing Emergency Relief Dockets and the procedures for handling petitions for emergency waivers of safety rules, regulations, or other standards during an emergency situation or event.  It further provides that each year the agency will reissue and update the rule to provide an expedited process to address the needs of the public and the railroad industry during emergency situations or events.  Here’s this year’s plan and guidance


The European DG regulations have been updated for 2017, including release in English and multiple other EU languages.  See the new edition here

Australia GHS

Our friends down under have now fully embraced the UN GHS.  The nation’s five yea transition period ended on December 31st and all materials and packaging that is subject to the rules must be in compliance.  As in the United States, Australia has embraced the 3rd Revision.  More information on the Australian iteration of this global initiative here

IATA Lithium Battery Guidance Update

 In the world of lithium battery transport, the only constant we seem to be able to count on is change.  So it goes today as the IATA organization has released yet another revision o its guidance for shipping lithium batteries by air.  This new document includes all the latest and greatest on labels, markings, packaging—the complete dossier.  See the new guidance here

Labelmaster is a full service provider of products and services for the Hazardous Materials and Dangerous Goods professional, shippers, transport operators, and EH&S providers. See our full line of solutions at www.labelmaster.com

Related posts