PHMSA will consider petroleum placarding petition

Nov. 22, 2016

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) in the November 21 Federal Register That will consider changes to the rules for placarding petroleum-based fuels.

PHMSA is considering the changes in response to a petition filed by National Tank Truck Carriers, the American Trucking Associations, and the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. 

“Our joint petition asked that all petroleum-based fuels be allowed to be placarded as any other petroleum-based fuel, so long as the placard was for a petroleum-based fuel with an equivalent or lower flash point than the one in transport,” said Boyd Stephenson, NTTC senior vice-president of government affairs. “NTTC will be providing feedback to the agency. We are currently collecting data that we can use in drafting our responses. Please fill out an online survey to help NTTC draft our comments on the ANPRM.  We must submit our responses to PHMSA by February 20, 2017.”

In 2015, PHMSA issued an interpretation letter that banned the previously common practice of placarding any petroleum fuel in transport as if it were another petroleum-based fuel with a lower flashpoint (usually UN 1203 gasoline). In response to this policy change, two petitions were filed with PHMSA asking the agency to return to its previous policy.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, representing roadside trucking enforcement, asked that PHMSA merely return to its previous practice in Petition-1667. NTTC’s joint petition suggested that PHMSA officially adopt regulations that would allow carriers to placard any petroleum-based fuel load as if it were a different petroleum-based fuel with a lower flashpoint.

PHMSA has issued an ANPRM. Unlike a proposed rule, an ANPRM merely asks for feedback from interested parties. After PHMSA considers data submitted by parties, it will issue a proposed rule with actual proposed regulatory text. After taking comment on that proposed regulatory text, PHMSA will issue a final rule.