NTTC says halt wetlines, regulatory privatization rulemakings

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Updated Oct 6, 2011

The National Tank Truck Carriers on Wednesday, Oct. 5, says it has asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to direct the withdrawal of two rulemakings that it considers unnecessary and counterproductive to safety. The first rulemaking would require a ban on gasoline in loading lines on cargo tanks (wetlines), while the other would turn over significant cargo tank regulatory responsibilities to a private third party and restrict public access to the regulatory process, NTTC says.

NTTC President John Conley said that his organization took this tactic because LaHood can provide political cover to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which developed the wetlines regulation in response to pressure from a congressional committee. PHMSA began the other rulemaking that would abdicate key government safety responsibility if the petitions from two private groups are granted, Conley said.

“I respectfully submit that there are two rulemakings under way at the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration that fall into the president’s category of regulations that are not needed and which would actually harm the safe transportation of hazardous materials,” Conley wrote. “Neither of these regulations was actually initiated by your agency for safety reasons, but rather were the result in one case from intense congressional pressure and in the other in response to petitions from an industry group that would financially benefit greatly if its petitions are granted.”

NTTC told LaHood that U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) – chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials – and ranking member U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) urged PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman to not proceed with the wetlines rulemaking. The wetlines regulation resulted from pressure from certain members of the T&I Committee in the last Congress and is not an issue of interest to the majority of the current Congress, according to NTTC.

Regarding the proposal to turn over key regulatory responsibilities to a private entity through a “no-bid” process, NTTC told LaHood that “while we can respect the gall of these parties to have the government mandate the purchase of their products and services, we urge you to encourage your agency to reject this attempt to fix something that is not broken.”