Congress Requires Rulemaking on Placarding

The following is courtesy of the WPMA:

"On Wednesday, the House approved legislation to provide a four-year reauthorization of the Department of Transportation's (DOT) pipeline safety program. H.R. 4937 (which passed as S.2276), the "Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016," included language of particular importance to PMAA.

The language would require the U.S. DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to open a rulemaking addressing regulations that allow placarding to the lowest flash point for mixed loads of gasoline, diesel fuel and mid-level ethanol blends. PMAA believes that House language is broad enough for PHMSA to also consider PMAA's request to restore the ability to placard to the lowest flashpoint for both straight and mixed loads of gasoline and diesel fuel. 

PMAA's interest in having a rulemaking arose with the issuance of a June 2015 Interpretative Guidance on placarding on cargo tank trucks. The guidance put an end to placarding to the lowest flash point for alternating straight loads of diesel fuel and gasoline. Marketers may still ship diesel fuel, gasoline and heating fuel in different compartments of the same cargo tank vehicle under a gasoline placard, but may no longer do the same for alternating straight loads of gasoline and diesel fuel.

Some states have already begun enforcing the Interpretative Guidance and it is only a matter of time before all states do so. PMAA is working to fix the problem before other states begin to enforce the placarding change. The penalty for a violation is $2,500. Under the rulemaking process, PMAA will seek a fix so that drivers will be able to resume placarding only to the lowest flashpoint for straight loads of gasoline and diesel. Otherwise the industry will incur an $84 million cost the first year and $80 million every year thereafter ($3,450 per cargo tank truck, per year) in material and primarily labor costs.

PMAA has worked with the Department of Transportation (DOT) since the Interpretative Guidance was released in June 2015, and began working with Congress once it was clear that DOT was not going to issue a rulemaking without a mandate to do so from Congress. The Senate is expected to pass the final negotiated bill in the next two weeks."