ANPRM: Oil Spill Response Plans (OSRPs) for High-Hazard Flammable Trains

Friday, August 1, 2014,    Department of Transportation

PHMSA, in consultation with the FRA, issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) is seeking comments on potential revisions that would expand the applicability of the comprehensive oil spill response plans (OSRPs) to high-hazard flammable trains (HHFTs) based on the amount of crude oil being transported in the entire train.  The intent of an OSRP is to ensure that personnel are trained and available and equipment is in place to respond to an oil spill, and that procedures are established before a spill occurs, so that required notifications and appropriate response actions will follow quickly after a spill.  Currently, an OSRP is only required when oil is in a quantity greater than 42,000 gallons per package.  As such, PHMSA believes that the number of railroads that have a comprehensive OSRP is very low or possibly non-existent.  In this ANPRM, PHMSA is requesting comments on the use of a 42,000 gallon per train consist as the trigger which would require the development of an OSRP. 

Accordingly, PHMSA is requesting detailed comments on the following questions.

1. When considering appropriate thresholds for comprehensive OSRPs, which of the following thresholds would be most appropriate and provide the greatest potential for increased safety? What thresholds would be most cost-effective?

a. 1,000,000 gallons or more of crude oil per train consist;

b. An HHFT of 20 or more carloads of crude oil per train consist;

c. 42,000 gallons of crude oil per train consist; or

d. Another threshold.

2. In exploring the applicability of comprehensive OSRP requirements to trains carrying large volumes of crude oil, are the requirements of comprehensive OSRPs clear enough for railroads and shippers to understand what would be required of them? If not, what greater specificity should be added?

3. In exploring the applicability of comprehensive OSRP requirements to trains carrying large volumes of crude oil, are there elements that should be added, removed, or modified from the comprehensive OSRP requirements? Please consider the regulations covering other modes of transporting crude oil (such as pipelines), and the relevant differences between modes of operation, in your response.

4. What costs might be incurred in developing comprehensive OSRPs and submitting them to FRA for approval? To the extent possible, please provide detailed estimates.

5. What costs might be incurred to procure or contract for resources to be present to remove discharges? In these estimates, what are your assumptions about the placement of equipment along the track, types of equipment, and maximum time to contain a worst-case discharge?

6. What costs might be incurred to conduct training, drills, and equipment testing? To the extent possible, please provide detailed estimates.

7. It is assumed that most railroads and shippers currently have basic OSRPs in place. What, if any, aspects beyond the basic plan requirements do these plans voluntarily address? To what extent do current plans meet the comprehensive OSRP requirements, including procurement or contracting for resources to be present to respond to discharges?

8. To what extent should recent commitments to the Secretary of Transportation’s “Call to Action,” and other voluntary industry actions, inform the exploration of additional planning requirements for trains carrying large volumes of crude oil? For example, how should voluntary emergency response equipment inventories and hazardous material training efforts be factored into the exploration of additional planning requirements?

Should PHMSA require that resources be procured to respond on a per route basis, or at the state/county/city/etc. level? What is the rationale for your response?

9. Should PHMSA require that the basic and/or the comprehensive OSRPs be provided to State Emergency Response  Commissions (SERCs), Tribal Emergency Response Commissions (TERCs), Fusion Centers, or other entities designated by each state, and/or made available to the public? Should other federal agencies with responsibilities for emergency response under the National Contingency Plan (e.g. U.S. Coast Guard, EPA) also review and comment on the comprehensive OSRP with PHMSA?

Comments must be submitted to PHMSA by September 30, 2014.

 PP, Docket PHMSA-2014-0105 (HM-251B), FR Doc. 2014-17762, Affecting 49 CFR Parts 130

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-08-01/pdf/2014-17762.pdf

 

Del Billings

Technical Director