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Regulatory Update: PHMSA releases 2012 hazmat violations report; training most common violation for NACD members
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has released its Calendar Year 2012 Notice of Hazardous Materials Regulations Enforcement. In 2012, PHMSA collected approximately $2.66 million in civil penalties, closed 203 cases and issued 489 tickets for violations of the federal Hazardous Materials Regulations. Penalties against NACD members totaled $22,406, less than .01 percent of all collected fines. Most of the chemical distributor violations involved failure to provide general awareness, function-specific and security awareness training; failure to close drums in accordance with the manufacturers' closure notification; and failure to properly mark labels and shipping papers. The total of $2.66 that PHMSA collected in fines increased substantially over the $2.15 million collected in 2011, which was a substantial increase over the $1.53 collected in 2010. Click here to access the 2012 and previous years' reports.
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Regulatory Update: DOT publishes final rule on opening of hazmat packages
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration recently published a final rule to amend the agency's enhanced inspection, investigation and enforcement procedures that were established in 2011 to address the concern of non-compliant hazardous materials shipments. The latest rule clarifies that inspectors will use "appropriate alternatives" before opening or stopping the transportation of packages containing perishable hazardous materials and establishes a policy that inspectors will not intentionally open packages unless a compelling safety need exists. The final rule also strengthens PHMSA's notification procedures to affected parties when packages are opened or removed from transportation and establishes a requirement that inspectors use appropriate safety and handling equipment.
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Safety Resources: FMCSA launches campaign to prevent cargo tank rollovers
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has launched a campaign called "Keep the Load on the Road" to further raise awareness of cargo tank rollovers and how these can be prevented. The centerpiece of the campaign is a 17-minute video for drivers that includes information on how and why rollovers happen, how vehicle design and loads affect rollover potential, and the warning signs of unsafe behaviors and conditions that contribute to rollovers. The video also shows viewers how to avoid sudden movements that may lead to rollovers, control loads in turns and on straight roadways, identify high risk areas on roads, remain alert and attentive behind the wheel, and control speed and maintain proper "speed cushions." The video also includes stories from rollover survivors. For more information on the "Keep the Load on the Road" campaign and links to the video trailer and full video, click here.
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Regulatory Update: Coalition report shows widespread support for federal IST requirements on chemical facilities
Last week, The Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters, a group of more than 100 health, labor, community, environmental justice and public interest organizations, released a national poll demonstrating widespread support for inherently safer technology mandates on chemical facilities. The creation of the Coalition represents a rebranding of the effort that has been taking place for years to impose IST mandates on chemical facilities. The West, Texas, catastrophe has rejuvenated this effort, and the coalition will be a major player in attempting to shape the recommendation of the president's Executive Order on Chemical Safety and Security. The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners Inc., found that a majority of likely voters believes "the federal government should require chemical facilities to use safer chemicals and processes" when they are effective, available and affordable.
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Regulatory Update: EPA to revise penalty reduction procedures for TSCA violations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to revise its procedures for reducing penalties for violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act and pesticide regulations in response to an agency Office of Inspector General report that found EPA Regions are inconsistent in how they determine penalty reductions. Specifically, the OIG found that EPA regions did not consistently determine and document reductions in proposed penalties based on good faith of the violators of TSCA and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act regulations. In addition, the OIG found that in some EPA Regions the reductions appeared automatic without adequate justification. The OIG states that this lack of adequate guidance for determining good faith reductions and the lack of supporting documentation for these reductions creates a risk that violators may not be treated equitably. Finally, the OIG stated that EPA may be losing opportunities to fully collect all penalties due. Click here for a copy of the report.
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Regulatory Update: Pesticide imports delayed as EPA employees furloughed
The federal government shutdown is holding up imports of pesticide products into the U.S. because the Environmental Protection Agency employees who process notices of arrivals have been furloughed. Under the EPA's Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act regulations, pesticide products entering the U.S. must be accompanied by a notice of arrival, which must be signed by an official from the EPA Regional Office whose area includes the location of the port of entry. On Oct. 2, EPA announced on its website that it would be unable to process the notices because of the Shutdown. Late last week, a group of industry organizations sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting that the impacted agency staff be allowed to return to work, citing public health concerns that could result from product shortages. It is unclear when the government shutdown will end. While the Senate has been in discussions, it is likely that the House will prefer a different approach.
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Regulatory Update: GAO reports on how DHS could improve cargo security
The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently released a report entitled Supply Chain Security: DHS Could Improve Cargo Security by Periodically Assessing Risks from Foreign Ports. Congress requested this report after the White House released its National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security in January 2012. That strategy called for a risk-based approach to supply chain security, and GAO's objectives were to determine the extent that the Department of Homeland Security has (1) assessed risks associated with foreign ports, and (2) taken actions to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of its maritime supply chain security programs. GAO found that U.S. Customs had not done an assessment of risk at foreign ports related to its Container Security Initiative program since 2005. GAO recommended that Customs periodically assess the supply chain security risks from all foreign ports that ship cargo to the U.S. and use these assessments to (1) inform any expansion of CSI to additional ports, and (2) determine whether changes need to be made to existing CSI ports. The report contains an appendix on CSI ports and their targeting approach. The back of the report contains a list and links to related GAO reports on supply chain security. Click here to get this latest report.
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State Regulatory Update: Public interest group accuses New Jersey of failing to fully enforce chemical safety rules
Last week, the New Jersey Work Environmental Council, a public interest group that has been a longtime supporter of inherently safer technology mandates on chemical facilities, released a report titled Failure to Act, stating that millions of people are at risk because of inadequate enforcement of the New Jersey Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act. As part of the report, the Council reviewed 42 publicly available reports submitted by facilities under a rule established under former Gov. Jon Corzine that required facilities to identify feasible IST alternatives and provide a schedule for implementation, or to explain why alternate approaches were not feasible.
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International Regulatory Update: China issues draft hazardous chemicals list for comment
From the ACTA group, the international affiliate of NACD Preferred Regulatory Provider Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. — On Sept. 26, the People's Republic of China State Administration of Work Safety, in conjunction with other Ministries, issued the much anticipated draft Hazardous Chemicals List, commonly referred to as the Catalog of Hazardous Chemicals, for review and comment. Comments on the draft Catalog are due Oct. 31. Stakeholders with interests in China should review this list now and assess their business and compliance obligations to avoid business disruption. The draft Catalog of Hazardous Chemicals is available, in Chinese, online.
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OSHA fines West Fertilizer for handling, storage of chemicals
The Dallas Morning News
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is fining the parent company of the West, Texas, fertilizer plant that exploded $118,300 for 24 workplace violations, including unsafely handling and storing two dangerous chemicals. West Fertilizer Co.'s stockpile of one of those chemicals, ammonium nitrate, is what fueled the deadly and destructive explosion after a fire broke out after a workday had already ended. State fire authorities have not been able to determine a cause of the fire. OSHA's fines and violations were announced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate's environment and public works committee. Boxer, a California Democrat, said OSHA couldn't publicize the findings itself because of the federal government's ongoing partial shutdown.
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Former EPA chief presses Obama on chemical safety
Government Executive
Shutdown or not, the government needs to step up its actions on chemical-plant safety, said former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman. "We need to have some action on a federal level," Whitman said, saying chemical safety has been an "obvious issue" since 9/11, further highlighted by the April fertilizer-plant explosion in West, Texas. "It's time to take action," she said. "This is clearly something that most people support."
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Getting real about chemical risks
Chemical & Engineering News
Many people assume that the chemicals in their detergents, floor cleaners, and other household products have undergone rigorous safety testing. But little is known about the potential risks associated with most of the estimated 80,000 chemicals in commerce today. While industry tries to dispel links to illnesses that go beyond what science can prove, the public is skeptical because companies have a financial stake in showing their products are safe. This leads both sides to look to the federal government for help.
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Survey: HOS compliance cutting driver wages by as much as 5.6 percent
DC Velocity
The federal government's new rules governing a commercial truck driver's hours of service has reduced median driver wages by between 3.2 and 5.6 percent by cutting the number of hours in a driver's workweek, according to a survey by the National Transportation Institute, a Kansas City-based consultancy. The survey, to be released later this month, canvassed 412 trucking firms. Specific wage reductions will depend on the nature of the job and the types of services that drivers perform, according to Gordon Klemp, founder and president of NTI.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Government shutdown impacts key regulatory agencies (NACD)
What to expect with California's Safer Consumer Products regulations (Lexology)
FMCSA publishes final rule to adopt congressionally mandated changes to motor carrier safety regulations (NACD)

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House freight panel takes on most difficult issue: Funding
The House panel studying freight transportation saved the toughest for last: how to pay for it. It was a sign of the enduring paralysis over funding that the panel had Jack Schenendorf and Robert Atkinson as witnesses in its final hearing last week. They led the two seminal commissions that reported to Congress five years ago that the national highway infrastructure is in dire need of reinvestment through a variety of funding mechanisms, including substantial increases in fuel taxes.
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DOE won't release diesel price survey if shutdown continues
Transport Topics
The Department of Energy will not release its weekly fuel survey next week because of the ongoing federal government shutdown, a department official said Oct. 11. Employees at DOE's Energy Information Administration, which releases the survey every Monday, will be furloughed as of the end of the day Friday, Oct. 18, EIA spokesman Jonathan Cogan told Transport Topics. "EIA will have to cease operations," Cogan said. "We won't be issuing any reports, including the weekly retail diesel survey, [and] until the appropriations issue is resolved, we will be out of business. The EIA website will be up, but it won't be updated."
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