DG Digest: PHMSA extends comment period for its Liquefied Natural Gas by rail NPRM

The FRA published an ICR dealing with the mandatory reporting of the compliant repair of freight cars. A BNSF freight train led by a locomotive still dressed in Santa Fe colors rounds a curve near Sumner, Washington in March of 2018. Image ©3/2018 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

The penultimate digest week of the year finds regulatory activity much busier than one might have otherwise expected it to be, with several actions of interest. Meanwhile, this week begins the heart of the holiday season. The Labelmaster family wishes you and yours a safe and joyous holiday! Here’s all the latest:


The agency published an extension of the comment period for its NPRM dealing with the proposed authorization of the transport of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG or Methane) by rail. This proposed rule has generated somewhat more controversy than PHMSA may have first expected, especially in the Northeast where the majority of such transport (account local fracking operations) is currently expected to take place. The comment period has been extended to January 13th of the new year. See the extension and how to comment at this link.


The association has published its revised 2020 Lithium Battery Guidance Document. This document offers shippers a compilation of the relevant rules and processes that help govern member carriers in their treatment of shipping the now ever present commodity. The document should be available at this link by the end of the year (as of 12/20 it was not yet available, but should be any day now).

Transport Canada

Our northern neighbor’s analog to PHMSA has established a “regulatory sandbox” (i.e. a working interaction point) for those interested in the agency’s developing treatment of electronic shipping documents. Such documents are expected to become much more common in the near future. Follow this link to access the “sandbox” and participate.


The commission updated the competent authority information for the Republic of Ireland. See the update here.


The agency published its renewal of coverage rates for random alcohol and drug testing for covered (i.e. operations personnel) employees. The rates remain constant at 25% for drug testing and 10% for alcohol testing. See the details here.


In direct final rule, the agency has published minor corrections to its rule for required safety practices on walking and working surfaces. See the corrections here.


The agency published a request for comments on its renewal request for an ICR dealing with CMV driver training standards for combination vehicles. Comments will close in early February. See the action here.

In a second requested ICR, the agency seeks comment on its plan to establish information reporting requirements related to the “Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Information Clearinghouse” which will become effective early next year. The new and somewhat controversial clearinghouse will enable motor vehicle carriers to find information about the violation status of CMV drivers related to any drug or alcohol issues. See the planned ICR and how to comment here.


The agency renewed an ICR dealing with federal reporting on compliant repair of defective freight cars. Such cars must meet minimum regulatory safety standards before reentering service. See the ICR here.

Labelmaster is a full-service provider of products, shipping and training software, and professional consulting services to assist the DG and HS&E professional in complying with national and international regulations. See our full line of solutions at www.labelmaster.com.

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