SOURCE: National Association of Chemical Distributors

National Association of Chemical Distributors

March 24, 2015 17:02 ET

NACD Files Comments on DOT Proposal to Prohibit Comingled Hazardous Materials Shipments

ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwired - March 24, 2015) -  Today, the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) filed comments with the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) urging the agency to withdraw its proposal that would prohibit the shipment of hazardous materials in the same transport vehicle that, if mixed, could result in a potentially dangerous chemical reaction.

In her comments, NACD Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Jennifer Gibson highlighted that the proposed regulatory changes are unnecessary because PHMSA already provides discretion on the handling of incompatible materials. She wrote, "PHMSA stated in its interpretation letter (13-0111) that the agency believes 'the packaging requirements for these materials mitigates the potential for comingling and subsequent dangerous evolution of gas.' NACD strongly agrees with PHMSA's statement, which confirms the current Hazardous Materials Regulations' packaging requirements are sufficient to prevent dangerous comingling of products."

Additionally, Gibson noted the lack of evidence provided by PHMSA for the revisions. She stated, "The agency appears to have based the proposal solely on a concern raised by only one company in a request for interpretation. This company only raised the concern about one product; however, the proposed change could impact thousands of materials and many more shipments."

Gibson also stressed that the scope of the proposed changes is undefined and extremely far-reaching. She noted, "The proposed change to Section 173.21 provides an extremely general definition of the conditions of concern and no clear definition of impacted materials. By expanding the provision to include 'transport vehicle,' PHMSA would prohibit what is potentially an infinite number of combination shipments."

Lastly, Gibson emphasized that the proposed changes would result in severe financial, supply chain, and safety consequences. She urged the agency to withdraw the proposal and, if the agency still had concerns about hazardous materials transport, to initiate a separate rulemaking that more narrowly defines the materials and packaging in question and includes a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed changes.

NACD's complete comments are available here.

NACD and its nearly 440 member companies are vital to the chemical supply chain providing products to over 750,000 end users. They make a delivery every six seconds while maintaining a safety record that is more than twice as good as all manufacturing combined. NACD members are leaders in health, safety, security, and environmental performance through implementation of Responsible Distribution. For additional information on our members, their safety record or NACD, visit NACD at www.nacd.com.

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