LNG hazmat safety permit program proposed

A safety permit program for carriers that transport refrigerated liquid methane or natural gas has been proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

According to information published August 19 in The Federal Register, FMCSA proposes to consider additional acute and critical regulations relevant to its determination of a carrier's safety fitness rating and, accordingly, the issuance of a safety permit.

This rulemaking would implement requirements in federal hazardous material transportation law that the Department of Transportation (DOT) must establish a safety permit program, and a motor carrier must hold a safety permit in order to transport certain hazardous materials in commerce.

The proposal for 49 CFR Parts 385, 390, and 397 also includes the transportation of radioactive and explosive material. It specifically addresses transportation of liquid methane or natural gas “in a packaging” having a capacity equal to or greater than 3,500 gallons.

If implemented, the rule also would announce the agency's decision to not prescribe a uniform permitting system for intrastate transportation of hazardous materials, as proposed in the 1993 notice of proposed rulemaking to this action.

Specifically, FMCSA would not require states that issue permits for the intrastate transportation of hazardous materials to use uniform forms and procedures, or to require each state to register all persons who transport hazardous materials — or cause hazardous materials to be transported — intrastate by motor vehicle. FMCSA believes it is not possible to devise a uniform system that would satisfactorily anticipate, address, and resolve the many permitting challenges and concerns unique to individual states.

Comments must be received on or before Oct 20, 2003.

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