PHMSA may hand off cargo tank rulemaking to ASME, National Board

An end-of-the-year Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) laid out the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA’s) plan to turn over regulation writing responsibility for cargo tanks to a couple of industry organizations. The ANPRM was published in the December 29, 2010 issue of the Federal Register.

PHMSA officials state in the ANPRM that they want to take key cargo tank regulations out of 49 CFR and replace those regulations with an Adoption by Reference of publications developed and copyrighted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the National Board of Pressure Vessel Inspectors. Essentially, PHMSA would let ASME write the rules for cargo tank design and construction, and National Board would control tank testing, inspection, and repair requirements.

The PHMSA move doesn’t set well with some in the tank truck industry. “There are many reasons to oppose this proposal,” says John Conley, president of National Tank Truck Carriers. “Our primary objection is that anyone wishing to comment on the ANPRM must first purchase a copy of ASME Section XII and/or the National Board Inspection Code to answer the questions PHMSA poses. Those two publications will cost companies $600 to $845, depending on format. Because they are copyrighted, neither NTTC nor the government can provide the information to our members or the public. Should this proposal be adopted, companies will have to purchase copies of these publications just to know which regulations will impact their businesses in the future.”

Public comments are due by March 23 and can be submitted online at the federal eRulemaking portal http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Comments also can be submitted by: Fax: 1-202-493-2251 or mail: Docket Operations, US Department of Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Routing Symbol M-30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington DC 20590.

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