Operators of liquid propane pipelines should include 911 agencies in their educational programs, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended Oct. 14.

Special Permits Will Boost Hazmat Safety, Agency Hopes

These additions address salvage cylinders, alternative packaging for hazardous wastes, aerosols transported for recycling or disposal, and authorizations for rail tank cars to exceed maximum capacity and weight limits with specific Federal Railroad Administration approval.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced it wants to add 44 "special permits" for new safety products and technologies to the Hazardous Materials Regulations. Using the techniques, "which have established a strong safety record through the special permit process, will increase efficiency, encourage further innovation, and continue to ensure the highest standards of safety in the transportation of hazardous materials," the agency said.

"Safety is job number one at the Department of Transportation, and this proposal ensures that we are using safe, proven technologies which will allow us to increase productivity and compete in the global market," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "This rulemaking is our first step in incorporating tested transportation technologies and operations from longstanding special permits into the regulations, thereby promoting safety and facilitating innovation," said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman.

According to the agency, hazmat special permits allow a company or individual to quickly and safely test and integrate new products and technologies into the production and transportation stream. If the technologies are shown to be at least as safe as the current regulations, they can be approved for general use through a rulemaking. The 44 special permits involved here include some that address salvage cylinders, alternative packaging for hazardous wastes, aerosols transported for recycling or disposal, and authorizations for rail tank cars to exceed maximum capacity and weight limits, provided there is specific Federal Railroad Administration approval.

The comment period for the proposal will end Feb. 22, 2010.

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