By TONI ELLINGTON
In addition to new limits on speed limits and types of rail shipping cars which can be used to ship crude oil recently proposed by the Department of Transportation (“DOT”), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) has proposed new liquids and gas testing standards related to the shipment by rail of crude oil and other hazardous materials. The new testing standards address the following testing methods and issues:
• frequency of sampling and testing;
• sampling at various points along the supply chain;
• sampling methods that ensure a representative sample of the entire mixture;
• testing methods to enable better analysis, classification, and characterization of materials;
• statistical justification for sample frequency; and
• duplicate samples for quality assurance.
This action is partially in response to a report released by PHMSA which determined that crude oil from the Bakken Shale region in North Dakota may be more volatile and flammable than other crude oils. In May 2014, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturing trade association released its own study of the characteristics of Bakken crude, which found that Bakken crude is within the current safety standards for current DOT-111 tank cars.
PHMSA was created to protect the public and environment by ensuring the safe and secure movement of hazardous materials though all transportation modes.
For the full text of the proposed regulations, see the PHMSA website at www.phmsa.dot.gov. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on August 1, 2014. The Notice and full text of the proposed rules can be found at http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/08/01/2014-17764/hazardous-materials-enhanced-tank-car-standards-and-operation. The public comment period ends on September 30, 2014.
For more information, contact Toni Ellington at (504) 599-8500.