PHMSA to strengthen oversight of special permits, explosives storage

In an effort to strengthen oversight of its special permits program for transporting hazardous materials, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on July 27 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf file) that would revise its permit application procedures.

Published in the July 27 Federal Register, the revision would require an applicant to provide sufficient information about its operations so PHMSA could evaluate the applicant’s fitness and the safety impact of operations that would be authorized in the special permit. The deadline for comment is Aug. 26. PHMSA also announced it will host a public meeting Aug. 19 to discuss the criteria used when determining a special permit applicant’s minimum level of fitness.

The administration issued a second NPRM (.pdf file) on July 27 in coordination with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that intends to enhance existing attendance requirements for explosives stored during transport. It would designate the National Fire Protection Association standard 498 as the federally approved standard for the construction and maintenance of safe havens used for unattended storage of certain explosives. The comment deadline is Sept. 27.