DG Digest: US DOT & Sub-agencies Publish Civil Penalties for 2021

The FRA was among many U.S. DOT sub-agencies publishing adjustments to their civil penalty fee schedules over the last week.  A BNSF train cruises along the Puget Sound beneath Mount Baker in Edmunds, Washington in March of 2020.  Photo © 3/2020 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Despite our hopes for a smoother start, the second week of the new year found the nation facing not only the ongoing pandemic but also unprecedented political turmoil in Washington, DC.  However as Dangerous Goods/EHS Professionals, it’s our job to keep looking forward to better times and to make sure we all do our part to help both the transport chain and our fellow employees keep working safely and effectively.  Our regulating bodies were very active despite everything going on, so here’s the week’s quite extensive news:


Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigned her post effective Monday, January 11th. Chao stated the events at the Capitol on January 6th left her unwilling to continue in the administration. Career professionals remain to operate the department; incoming Biden administration nominee Pete Buttigieg will take over Chao’s post in the coming weeks if his nomination is confirmed by the Senate. See the story here.

The DOT and its component sub-agencies have published their 2021 adjustments to civil penalty amounts. These citation penalty fees are typically adjusted on a yearly basis to account for inflation. See the adjustments for the various agencies below:

FAA: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-11/pdf/2020-25236.pdf

FMCSA: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-11/pdf/2020-25236.pdf

FRA: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-11/pdf/2020-25236.pdf

MARAD: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-11/pdf/2020-25236.pdf

PHMSA: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-11/pdf/2020-25236.pdf

USDOT (general): https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-11/pdf/2020-25236.pdf


The agency also published its Civil Penalty adjustments, seen here.


The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) published an Addendum to its 2021-2022 Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. The addendum largely matches the IATA addendum to the DGR published last week (see last week’s blog for details).  IATA’s work is based on the ICAO (i.e. UN model) document. See the ICAO addendum here.


The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning in relation to Type 18650 Lithium Battery Cells. The Agency is warning consumers not to buy or use loose Type 18650 lithium-ion battery cells. These cells are manufactured as industrial component parts of battery packs and are not intended for individual sale to consumers. However, they are being separated, rewrapped and sold as new consumer batteries, typically on the Internet. See the full details of the warning here.


The EPA published an extensive series of actions related to the regulation of various chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Activity surrounding the Act is increasing rapidly as EPA implements its new risk analysis and action programs related to TSCA. Here are the actions:

Regulation of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Chemicals Under TSCA Section 6(h):

2,4,6–tris(tert–butyl)phenol (2,4,6–TTBP): https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-06/pdf/2020-28690.pdf

Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE): https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-06/pdf/2020-28686.pdf

Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD): https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-06/pdf/2020-28693.pdf

Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP): https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-06/pdf/2020-28689.pdf

Phenol, Isopropylated Phosphate (3:1) (PIP 3:1): https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-06/pdf/2020-28692.pdf

Final TSCA Risk Evaluation for 1,4 Dioxane: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-08/pdf/2021-00114.pdf

Proposed update to TSCA related administration fees: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-11/pdf/2020-28585.pdf


In response to a Congressional mandate in the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act), FRA is proposing to expand the scope of its alcohol and drug regulation to cover mechanical (MECH) employees who test or inspect railroad rolling equipment. FRA is also proposing miscellaneous, clarifying amendments to its alcohol and drug regulation. Written comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before March 9, 2021. See the proposal here.

USDOT published the annual Tank Car Survey on behalf of FRA.  The survey tracks implementation of the program replacing the use of DOT-113 cars with DOT-117 cars for service in some types of flammable liquids carriage, especially UN1267 crude oil. See the new survey notice here.


The UN has made available the files for the EU ADR for 2021.  The ADR governs the road transport of dangerous goods in the signatory nations of the EU and UK.  Some nations also have their own derogations from the primary text; these derogations can usually be found on the website of the individual derogating nation. See the ADR files here.

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