PHMSA Weighs in on HHFTâ€™s
The U.S. Department of Transportationâ€™s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), issued a Final Rule that requires railroads to develop and submit Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plans for route segments traveled by High Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFTs). This new rule is said to â€œâ€¦make the transportation of energy products by railroad safer,â€ per the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
It should be noted that this new rule applies to HHFTs that are transporting petroleum oil in a block of 20 or more loaded tank cars and trains that have a total of 35 loaded petroleum oil tank cars.
Furthermore, it will require railroads to establish geographic response zones with personnel and equipment ready to respond in the event of an accident. It will also require railroads to identify the qualified individual responsible for each response zone, as well as the organization, personnel, and equipment capable of handling a worst-case discharge scenario. Lastly, it will require rail carriers to provide information about HHFTs to state and tribal emergency response commissions in accordance with the FAST Act of 2015 (Fixing Americaâ€™s Surface Transportation).
Currently this Final Rule has been transmitted to the Federal Register for publication and will take effect 180 days after the publication date in the Federal Register. To view the NPRM click HERE and to view the Final Rule per PHMSAs website click HERE.
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