United States, Azerbaijan Open Skies aviation agreement enters into force. Azerbaijan became the United States’ 119th Open Skies partner on Tuesday, as the United States and Azerbaijan exchanged diplomatic notes to bring the U.S.-Azerbaijan Open Skies Agreement into force. Airlines from the two countries may now select routes, destinations, and prices for both passenger and cargo service based on consumer demand and market conditions. Other important elements of modern aviation agreements such as code-share opportunities, intermodal services, and charter rights are also available under the Open Skies agreement. Negotiations were concluded on April 6 after several months of exchanges between U.S. and Azerbaijani officials. The Agreement was signed by Ambassador Robert Cekuta and Jahangir Asgarov, the President of Azerbaijan Airlines in Baku. Contact: Caitlin Harvey: (202) 366-4570.
PHMSA Issues Third Amendment to Corrective Action Order for Santa Barbara Crude Oil Leak. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today issued Amendment No. 3 to the Corrective Action Order (CAO). The CAO and its amendments were issued to Plains Pipeline, LP in response to the May 19, 2015, pipeline failure in Santa Barbara County, Calif. that leaked an estimated 2,934 barrels of crude oil onto land and beaches, and into the Pacific Ocean. This latest amendment requires Plains to fulfill a number of corrective actions before PHMSA will allow the failed pipeline (Line 901) and an adjoining pipeline (Line 903) to be restarted. Line 903, a pipeline connected to Line 901, has similar construction and operating conditions as the failed pipeline. The CAO Amendment requires the operator to implement advanced leak detection capabilities, install additional safety valves and pressure sensors, develop a long-term plan for corrosion prevention, and update its Facility Response Plan for both pipelines before they are allowed to restart. PHMSA is also releasing an advisory bulletin to operators across the country to help share lessons learned from the Plains pipeline failure. Read the amended CAO here. Contact for media: Artealia Gilliard (202) 366-4831.
BTS Announces Port Performance Working Group Members and Meeting - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), has appointed members to the Port Performance Freight Statistics Working Group, as specified in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. BTS has appointed working group members from Federal agencies, advisory committees, and the following: the rail industry, the trucking industry, the maritime shipping industry, a labor representative for each industry (rail, trucking, and maritime shipping), the International Longshoremen’s Association, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, a port authority, a terminal operator and the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Working Group is to make recommendations on nationally consistent measures of port capacity and throughput and a process to collect timely and consistent data. The Working Group was announced by BTS in a February 23 Federal Register notice. The Working Group’s first meeting is scheduled for Friday, July 15, at Department of Transportation Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Please see the Federal Register notice for additional information on this meeting. Media contact Dave Smallen: 202-366-5568.