FTA Seeks Nominations for Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS). The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently published a Federal Register notice seeking nominations for up to 20 representatives from the public transportation safety community for TRACS membership. In 2009, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation chartered TRACS for the purpose of providing a forum for the development, consideration, and communication of information regarding public transit safety. Nominees should be knowledgeable of trends or issues related to rail transit and bus transit safety, and will be evaluated on factors including leadership and organizational skills, geographic representation, diversity characteristics, and the overall balance of industry representation. Appointments are two-year terms and applications / nominations are due by August 31, 2016. Contact: Steve Kulm 202-366-9260
PHMSA adjusts maximum civil penalty amounts for inflation. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today issued Interim Final Rules to revise its regulations and increase the maximum civil penalty amounts for violations of the Federal hazardous materials safety law or Federal Pipeline Safety Laws (49 U.S.C. 60101, et seq.), certain oil spill response plan provisions of the Clean Water Act, (33 U.S.C. 1321 (b)(6)), and any PHMSA regulation or order issued thereunder. Under the “ Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015” (Sec. 701 of Public Law 114-74), which further amended the “Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990” (Public Law 101-410), the maximum civil penalty for a knowing violation is now $77,114, except that the maximum civil penalty is $179,933 for a violation that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property. In addition, the minimum civil penalty amount of $463 applies to a violation relating to training. Federal agencies are required to adjust their civil monetary penalties effective August 1, 2016, and then annually thereafter, to account for changes in inflation. Contact for media: Artealia Gilliard (202) 366-4831.
PHMSA Proposed Rule Would Reduce Regulatory Burden While Maintaining Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations to address 20 petitions for rulemaking on a variety of topics. These topics include, but are not limited to, the following: incorporating by reference multiple publications from both the Compressed Gas Association and the Chlorine Institute; addressing inconsistencies with domestic and international hazardous materials labels and placards; allowing electronic signatures for Environmental Protection Agency manifest forms; and no longer requiring that service pressure be marked on certain Department of Transportation cylinders. These proposed revisions are intended to reduce regulatory burdens while maintaining or enhancing the existing level of safety. Click here for more information. Comments to the rule must be submitted by 60 days from the publication date in the Federal Register. Contact for media: Joe Delcambre (202) 493-0730.
MARAD Announces Release of Energy Efficiency White Paper. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced the availability of the Energy Efficiency White Paper that provides marine vessel owners and operators information on how to evaluate potential investments in efficiency measures and technologies. The white paper outlines the latest energy efficiency measures currently available for marine vessels, including how the technology works, potential fuel savings, applicability to various vessels types, and lifecycle costs. If implemented, these types of energy efficiency measures may also assist owners of vessels undergoing a major conversion to comply with the Energy Efficiency for Ships Regulations contained in Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI. The white paper was developed through the Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) with funding from MARAD’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance Program. The white paper can be found at http://www.marad.dot.gov/wp-content/uploads/pdf/SOCP-Marine-Vessel-Energy-Efficiency-FinalReport.pdf Contact: Kim Strong, 202.366.5807
MARAD Releases Report on Improved Battery Compartment Design for Hybrid Tugs. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced the availability of a report evaluating the design and construction of new battery components, as well as the risks and benefits of battery use in the power plant of a hybrid tugboat. The assessment, which was conducted after a battery-related fire aboard a hybrid tug, looks at the benefits and risks associated with the reinstallation of batteries as part of the vessel’s hybrid power system. The assessment showed that a refined design with explosion protection, structural separation from occupied spaces, specialized battery controls, and shutdown protocols improved the risk profile for the hybrid power system. The assessment also demonstrated that without the battery array, the hybrid system would not achieve the tug’s full performance requirements nor the emissions and fuel consumption reductions made possible by hybrid technology. The report was developed through a partnership with Foss Maritime Company with funding from MARAD’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) Program. MARAD’s META program is designed to assist maritime stakeholders in addressing key environmental issues facing the industry. The report can be found at http://www.marad.dot.gov/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Hybrid-Battery-Refit-Final-Report-with-pics.pdf Contact: Kim Strong 202.366.5807