“The U.S. Department of Transportation today released the details of its comprehensive rulemaking proposal to improve the safe transportation of large quantities of flammable materials by rail – particularly crude oil and ethanol – in the form of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and a companion Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). The NPRM proposes enhanced tank car standards, a classification and testing program for mined gases and liquids and new operational requirements for high-hazard flammable trains (HHFT) that include braking controls and speed restrictions. Specifically, within two years, it proposes the phase out of the use of older DOT 111 tank cars for the shipment of packing group I flammable liquids, including most Bakken crude oil, unless the tank cars are retrofitted to comply with new tank car design standards. The ANPRM seeks further information on expanding comprehensive oil spill response planning requirements for shipments of flammable materials. Both the NPRM and ANPRM are available for review here and will be open for 60 days of public comment. Given the urgency of the safety issues addressed in these proposals, PHMSA does not intend to extend the comment period.”
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