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FRA, PHMSA issue final rules on haz-mat route safety/security procedures


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have issued final rules that require railroads to perform comprehensive safety and security risk analyses to determine optimal routes for moving toxic and hazardous materials. The rules pertain to an interim final rule the agencies issued in April.

The interim final rule stipulated Sept. 1, 2009, as the deadline when railroads must begin using an optimal route chosen after they analyze 27 risk factors during a six-month period from July to December. The PHMSA’s final rule retains that compliance date as an option, but also allows railroads to implement their route selection by March 31, 2010, if they notify the agency that they’re using full-year 2008 analysis data.

The change will allow railroads to include in their risk analyses certain hazardous materials that might be moved more frequently between January and June, PHMSA said.

The FRA final rule describes procedures a railroad can follow to appeal an agency decision that its risk analysis is deficient. The procedures would direct a railroad to use an alternate route while analysis deficiencies are corrected.

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More News from 11/26/2008