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RSPA Cancels Meetings On Hazmat Proposal

The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) has canceled two public meetings that had been scheduled to discuss proposals regarding specific hazardous materials functions and activities, including loading, unloading, and storage operations.

The RSPA proposal seeks, among other things, to define when transportation begins and ends. The rule would define the issue as beginning when a carrier takes possession of a hazardous material and continues until the carrier delivers the package containing the hazardous material to its destination as indicated on shipping papers.

In addition, the proposal would include in the regulation an indication that facilities at which functions regulated by the rule occur may also be subject to applicable standards and regulations of other federal agencies and state, local, and tribal governments. It also proposes to include the statutory criteria under which non-federal governments may be precluded from regulating in certain areas under the preemption provisions of the federal hazardous materials transportation law.

On August 2, 2001, RSPA announced two public meetings, one scheduled for September 14, 2001, in Washington, DC. That meeting was postponed September 12, but now will not be rescheduled. A second public meeting was scheduled for October 30, 2001, in Diamond Bar, California, which also has been canceled.

As of September 25, only 10 persons had indicated to RSPA that they planned to make presentations at the Washington meeting; only four persons had registered to speak at the California meeting on October 30, and two of them were among the 10 Washington speakers, according to RSPA. Therefore, the agency decided to cancel the meetings

However, anyone who believes that written comments are not sufficient to assure that their views on the proposal are communicated to RSPA, and that a public meeting to facilitate comment is necessary, may submit a statement explaining why a public meeting is necessary to the HM-223 docket. If there is sufficient interest, RSPA will reconsider its decision on the public meetings.

The comment period closing date remains November 30, 2001.

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