Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Rio Tinto autonomous train

AAR to DOT: Automation “at an inflection point”

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) on May 7 filed comments with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that call for the U.S. Department of Transportation “to take the same supportive regulatory approach with railroads that it has with automation of trucks and cars.”

FRA offering $10 million in grant money for crossing safety

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is soliciting applications from states for $10 million in competitive grant funding to improve highway-rail grade crossings and right-of-way along routes that transport energy products such as crude oil and ethanol. Funding comes from the STEP (Safe Transportation of Energy Products) by Rail program administered by PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration).

Senate confirms Dominguez’s role as PHMSA Administrator

The U.S. Senate on August 5, 2015 officially confirmed the appointment of Marie Therese Dominguez as Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Dominguez, who began serving as Administrator on June 22, was first nominated by President Barack Obama for the role on May 29.

FRA to railroads: CBR Emergency Order still stands

The Federal Railroad Administration on July 22, 2015 sent a reminder to railroads transporting crude oil that the Emergency Order issued May 7, 2014 (Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0067) requiring them to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) and Tribal Emergency Response Commissions (TERCs) of the expected movement of Bakken crude oil trains through individual states and tribal regions remains in effect and “will be made permanent,” as previously announced.

TankCarRetrofitChart

DOT-117 tank car rule debuts with controversy

The final spec for the now-official DOT-117 (TC-117 in Canada) non-pressurized tank car adopts the most demanding of the technical requirements first offered for comment in the notice of rulemaking: jacketed and thermally insulated shells of 9/16-inch steel, full-height half-inch-thick head shields, sturdier, re-closeable pressure relief valves and rollover protection for top fittings.

FRA, PHMSA pile on the paperwork

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on April 17, 2015 issued what they describe as “a package of targeted actions that will address some of the issues identified in recent train accidents involving crude oil and ethanol shipped by rail.”