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PHMSA: “ANPRM will gather information regarding the safety of crude transportation”

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World Pipelines,

On Tuesday 10 January 2017, US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, signed an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM). The ANPRM was issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which will seek contributions from government, industry and the public on a range of questions associated with establishing a vapour pressure threshold for unrefined petroleum products (e.g. crude oil) in transportation to inform the evaluation of the potential safety benefits of utilising vapour pressure threshold(s) within the hazardous materials classification process. The ANPRM was sent to the federal register on Wednesday 11 January and the full text of the ANPRM can be found on PHMSA’s website.

"Nationwide, Americans are experiencing the movement of energy products in new ways and looking to government to safeguard their communities and neighbourhoods," said Foxx. "Improving crude oil transportation safety by rail and other modes is a top priority for the Department of Transportation and this ANPRM is an important first step in that undertaking."

The USDOT has taken more than 30 actions over the past two years to improve crude by rail safety, including issuing a comprehensive rulemaking package in May 2015 to improve tank car durability, braking and the safe transportation of energy products, and issuing multiple safety advisories and emergency orders.

"The American energy landscape is constantly evolving and we need to understand the full scope of safety risks involved with moving energy products in new ways," said PHMSA Administrator, Marie Therese Dominguez. "This ANPRM will gather information from our modal, state, and local partners, as well as industry and the public, to further inform effective regulation regarding the safety of crude oil transportation."

The Department is also continuing its collaborative work with the US Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories on a study to better understand the characteristics of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, to determine the best sampling and testing methods for this type of crude, and to better understand how vapour pressure impacts transportation safety. The long term findings of this study will continue to inform PHMSA’s rulemaking considerations.

The comment period for the ANPRM will open upon publication in the federal register and will last for 60 days from the date of publication.

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US pipeline news PHMSA pipeline news