DG Digest: PHMSA special permit to allow liquified natural gas on railways

PHMSA is engaged in a Special Permit action pertaining to its plan to allow LNG shipments by rail tank car.  A BNSF train hauling tank cars with oil aboard passes 259th Street in Kent, Washington in September of 2019.  Photo by Nikki Burgess © 9/2019; all rights reserved.

Mid-December finds regulatory activity about average, with several actions.  At this time of year, our employees can feel very distracted with holiday plans and parties, shopping, and other preparations.  Let’s all be sure to help them stay focused on safety both in the workplace and off the job.  No one wants a holiday accident to mar the fun.  Here’s all the latest:


The agency published its latest round of Special Permit actions.  As with most such actions these pertain mostly to batteries, cylinders, and portable tanks. A separate permit action deals with the somewhat controversial plan to allow shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail.  See the actions right here:





Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSHIB)

The board published a proposed rule that will update release reporting requirements.  It describes when an owner or operator is required to file a report of an accidental release and the required content of such a report. The purpose is to help ensure that the CSB receives rapid, accurate reports of any accidental release. Comments must be submitted by January 13, 2020. See full information here


The agency published an extension of the compliance date for the requirement established by the December 5, 2016, Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse final rule that States request information from the Clearinghouse about individuals before completing certain commercial driver’s license (CDL) transactions for those drivers. The States’ compliance with this requirement, currently due to begin on January 6, 2020, is delayed until January 6, 2023. This rule will, however, allow States the option to voluntarily request Clearinghouse information beginning on January 6, 2020.  See the rule here

FMCSA also requests public comments on the National Association of the Deaf’s (NAD) petition for rulemaking to rescind the requirement for interstate drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to be able to hear. NAD also requests that FMCSA amend the requirement that interstate drivers be able to speak, and the rule prohibiting the use of interpreters during the administration of the commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test. NAD believes the origins of the hearing requirement dates to a time of misguided stereotypes about the abilities and inabilities of deaf and hard of hearing individuals and the rules should now be changed. Comments must be submitted by February 14, 2020. See the request here


Updated checklists have been issued corresponding to the requirements of the 61st Edition of the DGR that takes effect on January 1st, 2020.  These checklists include versions for radioactive materials, non-radioactive materials, and dry ice.  Follow the link here to find the IATA web page to download these checklists

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