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Cargo Tank Rules May Be ‘Outsourced’

A key federal regulatory agency for tank trucks and trailers is considering a plan that in effect would turn over regulation writing responsibility for cargo tanks to a couple of industry organizations.

According to an end-of-the-year Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) laid out the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), PHMSA officials want to take key cargo tank regulations out of 49 CFR and replace those regulations with an Adoption by Reference of publications developed and copyrighted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the National Board of Pressure Vessel Inspectors. The effect would be that PHMSA would let ASME write the rules for cargo tank design and construction, and National Board would control tank testing, inspection, and repair requirements.

The PHMSA move doesn’t set well with some in the tank truck industry. “There are many reasons to oppose this proposal,” says John Conley, president of National Tank Truck Carriers. “Our primary objection is that anyone wishing to comment on the ANPRM must first purchase a copy of ASME Section XII and/or the National Board Inspection Code to answer the questions PHMSA poses. Those two publications will cost companies $600 to $845, depending on format. Because they are copyrighted, neither NTTC nor the government can provide the information to our members or the public. Should this proposal be adopted, companies will have to purchase copies of these publications just to know which regulations will impact their businesses in the future.”

The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association shares that position. President Jeff Sims says it is a question of accessibility. For someone to comment intelligently on the proposal, that person would need to be able to have a copy of the ASME and National Board of Pressure Vessel Inspectors publications.

Sims said he would like to see the regulations separated into two parts—one addressing the manufacture of tanks and the other regulating the testing and inspection of tanks.

Public comments are due by March 23 and can be submitted online at the federal eRulemaking portal Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Comments also can be submitted by: Fax: 1-202-493-2251 or mail: Docket Operations, US Department of Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Routing Symbol M-30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington DC 20590.

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