PHMSA dismisses ATA request to preempt Pittsburgh hazmat permit program

July 13, 2016

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced that it has dismissed an American Trucking Associations request for preemption of a Pittsburgh PA hazardous materials transportation permit and fee. The reason: The City of Pittsburgh claims the requirements are not being applied or enforced at this time, even though the program remains in place.

ATA had applied for an administrative determination concerning whether Federal hazardous material transportation law, 49 USC 5101 et seq., preempts requirements of the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (City) for a permit to transport hazardous materials by motor vehicle and the fee to obtain the permit. On April 7, 2014, PHMSA published a public notice and invitation to comment on ATA's application.

On June 2, 2014, the comment period closed without any parties submitting comments. On April 27, 2015 in a blatant case of stonewalling, PHMSA published a notice of delay in processing ATA's application in order to conduct additional fact-finding and legal analysis in response to the application.

On July 6, 2015, PHMSA sent a letter to the City's Solicitor, and its Fire Chief, to encourage the city to participate in the proceeding. On July 20, 2015, the City responded to PHMSA's letter and informed the agency that the “City of Pittsburgh at this time is not accepting applications for the `Transportation of Hazardous Materials' permit and has not done so since 2013.”

 The City further stated that “[n]o fees were collected for 2014 or 2015. For 2013, the City of Pittsburgh collected a total of $8,316.00 which was deposited into the City of Pittsburgh's General Fund.” Thereafter, in a letter, dated March 11, 2016, the City's Solicitor confirmed to PHMSA that the City had stopped enforcing its permit and fee requirements to transport hazardous materials in 2013, and further stated that it had no intention of taking it up again.

In light of this information, ATA's application is hereby dismissed, and the docket is closed, according to PHMSA officials. In the future, if the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's permit and permit fee requirements are ever applied and enforced, ATA may again submit an application for a preemption determination.