The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Special Programs Administration has asked for comments as to whether or not federal hazardous materials transportation law preempts New Mexico rules regarding the transportation of liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas.
The American Trucking Assn’s has asked for the pre-emption
Among other things, the New Mexico Liquefied Petroleum and Compressed Gas Bureau
requires any person who operates, loads or unloads an LP gas transport vehicle within the state to take a safety exam at a New Mexico facility. ATA contends that compliance for out-of-state drivers imposes unfair burdens on carriers who must also comply with federal training and testing requirements.
The state levies a $125 annual license fee and $10 annual identification card renewal fee which, ATA argues, discriminates against interstate carriers since it places a disproportionate share of the costs for administering New Mexico’s gas program on carriers that have less of a presence in the state than intrastate carriers.
New Mexico also requires an annual safety inspection of vehicles used to transport LP gas in bulk but ATA says there is no written process that outlines how the inspection is obtained. Thus interstate carriers must present each LP gas trailer to state inspectors at a preset date and location, regardless of the fact that their principal place of business is in another state. Carriers must either take a vehicle out of service or vary its route when loaded in order to accommodate the inspection.
ATA’s pre-emption application and all comments received can be reviewed on-line at DOT’s Docket Management System. Refer to Docket Number RSPA-00-7092.Comments must be received in writing on or before May 15.