217.370.8505 cory@bletislb.org

PHMSA extends comment period for proposed rule on train consist information

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has extended to Oct. 27 its deadline for comments on a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require all railroads to generate in real time and in electronic form certain information regarding hazardous materials in rail transportation and provide that information to first responders, emergency response officials, and law enforcement personnel.

The proposed rule — titled “Hazardous Materials: FAST Act Requirements for Real-Time Train Consist Information” —  is proposed to enhance emergency response and investigative efforts, according to PHMSA’s notice in the Federal Register. PHMSA extended the comment period — which originally would have ended Aug. 28 — in response to a request from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, which requested the extension to allow more time to gather feedback on the proposed rule’s economic impact on its member railroads.

The proposal responds to a safety recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board, mandates in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and to lessons learned from firefighters responding to the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. It complements existing regulatory requirements to generate, maintain and provide similar information in hard copy form, as well as other hazard communication requirements, PHMSA’s notice states.