DG Digest: PHMSA Issues Emergency Waivers for Hurricane-stricken Areas

The Surface Transportation Board is renewing the charter of the Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee. A BNSF local train hauls mixed goods through Sumner, Washington on September 24th, 2017. Image © 9/2017 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Fall is here, and with it the cool weather and fast approaching holidays we all enjoy so much.  Hopefully your season is filled with pleasant plans and lots to do!  Regulatory activity remains fairly minimal, although some action related to the recent catastrophic hurricanes has occurred.  Let’s take a look at the latest updates:


  • PHMSA has issued a set of three emergency waivers allowing transport of non-radioactive hazardous materials not in accordance with the HMR within geographic areas impacted by the recent hurricanes.  The waivers limit such transport to staging areas within 50 miles of point of origin and also such transport must be in accordance with the relevant USEPA rules.  Areas affected appear to include zones in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin islands.  Full details in the links:
  • On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, PHMSA will host two public meetings. The first meeting will be to gain public input on current proposals and discuss potential new work items for inclusion in the agenda of the 52nd session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNSCOE TDG) held in Geneva, Switzerland from November 27 to December 6, 2017. The second meeting will be led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to discuss proposals in preparation for the 34th session of the UN SubCommittee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals also held in Geneva from December 6 to 8, 2017.  Learn how to attend or contribute here


The agency announced a meeting of its Medical Review Board (MRB) on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 26–27, 2017. The MRB will make recommendations to the Agency on the revision of the Agency’s handbook for medical examiners (ME) who are on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry), for their use in evaluating interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers for a medical qualification determination. Additionally, the MRB will review the Agency’s current advisory and exemption program criteria concerning individuals taking anti-seizure medication and identify factors the Agency should consider for potential regulatory actions that would eliminate the need for granting exemptions.   Does this potentially affect your business?  See the details here


The agency is extending until October 19 the deadline for companies claiming the confidential business information (CBI) exemption in relation to required submissions of substantiating data related to claiming such an exemption under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).   See the details of the extension here


The “Surf Board” announced it is renewing the charter and activities schedule of the Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee.  The RETAC consists of up to twenty five voting members and comprises a balanced representation of individuals experienced in issues affecting the transportation of energy resources, including railroads; coal producers; electric utilities; biofuel refiners and distributors; car manufacturers; and the petroleum shipping industry. All voting members of the Committee serve in a representative capacity on behalf of their respective industry or stakeholder groups.  The committee has a significant portfolio related to the bulk transport of hazardous materials.   See the renewal action here

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