PHMSA to enhance inspection, investigation, enforcement authority

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The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced Tuesday, March 1, that it is implementing enhanced inspection, investigation and enforcement authority conferred on the U.S. Secretary of Transportation by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security Reauthorization Act of 2005.

PHMSA says its final rule, effective May 2, establishes procedures for issuance of emergency orders (restrictions, prohibitions, recalls and out-of-service orders) to address unsafe conditions or practices posing an imminent hazard; opening packages to identify undeclared or noncompliant shipments when the person in possession of the package refuses a request to open it; and the temporary detention and inspection of potentially noncompliant packages.

PHMSA says these inspection and enforcement procedures will not change the current inspection procedures for the U.S. Department of Transportation, but will enhance DOT’s existing enforcement authority and allow the agency to respond immediately and effectively to conditions or practices that pose serious threats to life, property or the environment.

PHMSA on Oct. 2, 2008, published the notice of proposed rulemaking under Docket No. PHMSA-2005-22356 proposing to issue rules implementing certain inspection, investigation and enforcement authority conferred on the Secretary of Transportation by HMTSSRA.