Associations Petition TSA for Extension of Surface Cyber Risk Management Comment Period

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and six other groups have petitioned the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an extension to the public comment period on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking concerning surface cyber risk management.

On Dec. 5, ASLRRA and AAR, along with the American Gas Association (AGA), Interstate Natural Gas Association (INGAA), American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), American Public Gas Association (APGA), American Petroleum Institute (API) and Liquid Energy Pipeline Association (LEPA) submitted a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske requesting that the public comment period be extended by 30 days, stating that additional time to provide comments in response to the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), which is “an important step in the regulatory process and seeks input on multiple matters, all of which require careful consideration in order to develop meaningful stakeholder comments,” is justified.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske

In the letter, the included rail trade associations, whose respective members “comprise major freight railroads that operate 83% of the line-haul mileage, regional and short line carriers that operate on 50,000 miles of track in 49 states, Amtrak and several commuter railroads,” and the included pipeline trade associations, which “represent almost all aspects of U.S. energy pipeline operations that serve customers reliably across North America,” stated that while they “appreciate TSA’s ongoing efforts to strengthen cybersecurity and resiliency across the rail and pipeline sectors, TSA has not provided sufficient time for stakeholders to review and analyze the lengthy ANPRM to develop meaningful comments.”

According to the letter, TSA on Nov. 30 published in the Federal Register the ANPRM providing 45 days, or until January 17, 2023, to comment and respond to numerous questions.

“To sufficiently analyze the ANPRM, consider the questions posed by TSA on the complicated issues raised in the ANPRM, and provide the caliber of feedback TSA seeks, an additional 30 days is required,” wrote the joint requesters, adding that “in order for TSA to make any determinations, such as a rulemaking or appropriate next steps, it should provide stakeholders with sufficient time to carefully respond to the ANPRM.” Additionally, the joint requesters stated in the letter that the 45-day comment period includes three federal holidays, making it difficult to “develop meaning comments in response to the ANPRM.”

According to the letter, providing a 30-day extension, which will “permit stakeholders to develop meaningful comments on the complex and important issues addressed by the ANPRM, and aid TSA in developing a sufficient record in this proceeding,” will “not cause a significant delay in TSA’s consideration of the record and any next steps.”


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