Fuel Smarts

Hazmat Hauling Rules Tighten

February 14, 2000

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Effective May 2, 2000, anyone who transports or offers for transport placardable quantities of hazardous materials must register as a hazmat hauler with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Special Programs Administration. The annual registration fee will be $300 or $2,000 depending on the size of the company.

RSPA says most of the changes are intended to increase funding for the national Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grants program which funds training for state and local hazmat response personnel. The agency estimates that some 80,000 shipments of hazardous materials make their way through the national transportation system each day. The shipments range in size and type from single small parcels of consumer commodities, such a flammable adhesives, to bulk shipments of gasoline in tanker trucks and flammable or toxic gases in railroad tank cars. It also estimates that there are over 2 million emergency responders, including paid and volunteer personnel, who require initial training and periodic recertification.
The current rules base registration on the type and amount of material carried. RSPA says it receives about 27,000 registrations a year which raises $6.4 million for the HMEP programs -- about half the amount authorized.
Under new rules, annual registration would be required of "ny person who offers for transportation, or transports, in foreign, interstate or intrastate commerce...a quantity of hazardous material that requires placarding” under existing DOT rules. The only exception is farmers transporting materials to support their own farming operation.
Entities that qualify as a small business under criteria set by the U.S. Small Business Administration will pay $300 annually. That includes a $275 registration fee and a $25 processing fee. Larger companies will pay $1,975 plus the $25 processing fee.
RSPA estimates that the new placarding criteria will add 15,000 to 17,000 fee paying registrants. All but 500 will be small businesses. As many as 7,000 will be dealers of refined petroleum products such as residential fuel oil or diesel fuel.
Final rules appeared in the February 14, 2000, Federal Register which can be accessed at www.nara.gov/fedreg . Copies of the registration form and instructions are available by calling (617) 494-2545 or (202) 366-4109, or at hazmat.dot.gov.

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