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Regulatory Victory: PHMSA reduces hazmat registration fees
NACD
On April 19, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule in the Federal Register announcing a reduction in the hazardous materials registration fees for registration year 2013-2014. Specifically, the fee for a small business or nonprofit organization is revised to be $125 (plus a $25 processing fee), and for all other businesses the fee is $1,300 (plus a $25 processing fee). After the 2013-2014 registration year, the registration fees will return to 2012-2013 registration year levels. Federal hazardous materials transportation law requires DOT to adjust the amount of the annual registration fee to account for any balance in the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Fund, which is funded by the hazardous materials registration fees. In recent years, the HMEP has accumulated a substantial surplus. NACD and other organizations met with PHMSA recently to remind the agency of the large balance and the agency's obligation under the law to reduce the fees when there is a substantial surplus. The fee reduction is effective immediately. Click here for a copy of the notice.
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Regulatory Update: EPA fines Massachusetts company nearly $500,000
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region I recently announced that Shield Packaging Company Inc. has agreed to pay $484,900 in penalties to settle agency claims that it violated numerous federal and state environmental regulations at its liquid and aerosol packaging facility in Dudley, Mass. EPA states the company violated rules regarding hazardous waste management, chemical accident prevention, hazardous chemical inventory reporting and oil pollution prevention contained in the Clean Air Act, the Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act, the Clean Water Act and the Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Management Regulations.
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Regulatory Update: PHMSA raises hazardous materials penalties
On April 17, the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule in the Federal Register to revise the maximum and minimum civil penalties for knowing violations of the federal hazardous materials transportation laws and regulations or the terms of DOT special permits or approvals.
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Regulatory Update: EPA proposes SNURS for 8 chemical substances
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week published a notice in the Federal Register proposing significant new use rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act for eight chemical substances that were the subject of pre-manufacture notices. This action would require persons who intend to manufacture, import or process any of the chemical substances for any activity that is designated as a significant new use by the rule to notify EPA before commencing the activity.
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Regulatory Update: DOT requests participation in HM-ACCESS electronic shipping paper pilot tests
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is requesting participation in pilot tests on the HM-ACCESS program, a project to evaluate the feasibility of using electronic shipping papers for hazardous materials shipments. The pilot tests, expected to begin in July and conclude in October, will focus on the use of e-HM communication systems while shipping hazmat from point of origin to final destination using truck, rail, maritime and air transport, and during inspections and emergency response simulations.
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Legislative Update: Senators hold EPA nominee to promise of transparency
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, along with every fellow Republican on the committee, followed up on five transparency concerns they have with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a letter to Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama's nominee to head the agency. The senators made the five requests prior to McCarthy's recent nomination hearing before the committee.
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State Legislative Update: NACD signs letter raising concerns about proposal to allow California to request customer lists
NACD has joined several other associations in sending a letter to California State Sen. William Monning expressing concerns about his bill, SB 193, which would give the Department of Public Health the authority to request an array of information from companies including their customer lists in case of a public emergency. NACD and the others wrote that if the bill is enacted, the state "could theoretically on Jan. 1, 2015, issue requests to thousands of businesses requesting customer information on thousands of chemicals without any clear indication as to how this information would be used and to what extent the information will help address a potential public health threat in the workplace."
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  General Business Interest


Fertilizer plant explosion tears at the heart of a Texas town
The New York Times
The blast was so powerful that the United States Geological Survey registered it as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake. It reduced an apartment complex to a charred skeleton, leveled homes in a five-block radius and burned with such intensity that railroad tracks were fused. It killed up to 15 people and injured up to 180. Volunteer firefighters were missing. Residents of a nursing home were pulled from debris and rushed to hospitals. One day after a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, caught fire and then exploded, no one among the hundreds of local, state and federal officials and first responders who converged on this town north of Waco was certain about the cause. They only knew its effect.
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Chemical industry watchdog falls years behind on safety reports
NBC
On April 2, 2010, an explosion at the Tesoro Corp. oil refinery in Anacortes, Wash., killed five workers instantly and severely burned two others, who succumbed to their wounds. Eighteen days later, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and unleashing a massive oil spill. In both cases, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board — an independent agency modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board — launched investigations.
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Classifying hazardous materials for transportation
HazMat Management
Hazardous materials cover a wide range of materials, and a variety of hazmat classification schemes and systems have been developed to safeguard various segments of the industry. In each system, classification of a hazardous material allows for placement of that material into one of several categories. This is essential for safe handling, transport, emergency response, product storage, etc.
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NTTC calls on tank fleets to help promote fire water tanker rollover video
Bulk Transporter
National Tank Truck Carriers will soon issue an updated version of its Cargo Tank Rollover Prevention Video with a new introduction inviting emergency responders who drive water tankers to view the video. The association wants to make sure the video reaches as many emergency responders as possible and is enlisting the help of the tank truck industry in that effort.
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ATA challenging port regulations before Supreme Court
Bulk Transporter
On April 16, the American Trucking Associations made arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the trucking federation's ongoing challenge to the ill-founded attempt by the Port of Los Angeles, Calif., to impose a comprehensive licensing scheme on trucks hauling freight in and out of the port.
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Fatigue management program nears completion
Truckinginfo
A coalition of U.S. and Canadian trucking interests are close to releasing a best-practices manual for fatigue management. The North American Fatigue Management Program should be posted online early next month, according to several sources. The program will offer guidelines and training materials for commercial carriers to use in implementing a fatigue management program, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in an email.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword "FATIGUE."


Safety blitz coming to some Canadian warehouses
Materials Management & Distribution
Ontario, Canada, warehouse operators have been put on notice: Ensure your facilities are fully compliant with health and safety regulations or risk government-imposed penalties. That message was relayed by David Saucier, manager of regulatory and government affairs for the Canadian Association of Chemical Distributors during a presentation given at the International Warehouse Logistics Association Canadian Council's fifth Annual Spring Conference.
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Employers beware when conducting criminal background checks
By D. Albert Brannen
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued enforcement guidance on arrest and conviction records in employment decisions. Employers need to revise their use of criminal background checks in light of this guidance. Having a criminal record is not a protected basis in Title VII, but liability can arise for employers from two theories: "disparate treatment" or "disparate impact." Employers should avoid actions that could violate Title VII under either of these theories. This article outlines compliance tips for employers.
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NACD NewsBrief
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