[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 118 (Monday, June 22, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 29456]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-14569]



Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 107

[Docket No. PHMSA-2008-0010 (HM-208G)]
RIN 2137-AE35

Hazardous Materials Transportation; Miscellaneous Revisions to 
Registration and Fee Assessment Program

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), 

ACTION: Withdrawal of notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 
(PHMSA) is withdrawing the notice of proposed rulemaking published 
under this docket on May 5, 2008 (73 FR 24519). Our revised estimates 
of unexpended balances from previous years and revenues expected to be 
generated at current registration fee levels indicate that an increase 
in registration fees is not necessary to fund the national Hazardous 
Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants program at its 
authorized level of $28,318,000 for Fiscal Year 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deborah Boothe, Office of Hazardous 
Materials Standards, (202) 366-8553, or David Donaldson, Office of 
Hazardous Materials Planning and Analysis, (202) 366-4484, Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of 


I. Background

    The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants 
program, as mandated by 49 U.S.C. 5116, provides Federal financial and 
technical assistance to States and Indian tribes to ``develop, improve, 
and carry out emergency plans'' within the National Response System and 
the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (Title 
III), 42 U.S.C. 11001 et seq. The grants are used to develop, improve, 
and implement emergency plans; to train public sector hazardous 
materials emergency response employees to respond to accidents and 
incidents involving hazardous materials; to determine flow patterns of 
hazardous materials within a State and between States; and to determine 
the need within a State for regional hazardous materials emergency 
response teams. The HMEP grants program is funded by registration fees 
collected from persons who offer for transportation or transport 
certain hazardous materials in intrastate, interstate, or foreign 
    Congress reauthorized the Federal hazardous materials 
transportation law (Federal hazmat law; 49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) in 
2005. The Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security 
Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Title VII of the Safe, Accountable, 
Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act--A Legacy for Users, Pub. 
L. 109-59, 119 Stat. 1144, Aug. 10, 2005) authorizes $28.3 million per 
year for the HMEP grants program and lowered the maximum registration 
fee from $5,000 to $3,000. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 
(Pub. L. 110-161, 121 Stat. 2404, Dec. 26, 2007) set an obligation 
limitation of $28,318,000 for expenses from the HMEP fund, and the 
Administration's Fiscal Year 2009 budget requests $28,300,000 in 
support of HMEP activity.

II. Current Rulemaking

    To ensure full funding of the HMEP grants program for FY 2009, 
PHMSA proposed an increase in registration fees to fund the program at 
the $28.3 million level (73 FR 24519, May 5, 2008). For those 
registrants not qualifying as a small business or not-for-profit 
organization, we proposed to increase the registration fee from $975 
(plus a $25 administrative fee) to $2,475 (plus a $25 administrative 
fee) for registration year 2009-2010 and following years. As explained 
in the NPRM, an existing surplus enabled us to delay an increase in 
registration fees, but we concluded that we would not be able to fund 
the HMEP grants program at the $28.3 million level in Fiscal Year 2009 
without an increase.
    We received 13 written comments in response to the NPRM from 
shippers and carriers and from the emergency response community, 
including the American Trucking Association (ATA), Council on the Safe 
Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA), Institute of Makers of 
Explosives (IME), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), 
National Association of SARA Title III Program Officials (NASTTPO), and 
Vessel Operators Hazardous Materials Association, Inc. (VOHMA).
    We have recently re-examined our estimates for funding the HMEP 
grants program based on updated information from the Department of 
Treasury on the HMEP account carry-over balance, de-obligations of 
unused grant and administrative funds, increased enforcement of the 
registration requirements, and current registrant data, and we have 
further refined our estimates of revenues we anticipate collecting for 
registration years 2008-2009 (covering July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009) 
and 2009-2010 (covering July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010) at current 
registration fee levels. Based on this analysis, we have concluded that 
we will be able to fund the HMEP grants program at the $28.3 million 
level in Fiscal Year 2009 without an increase in registration fees. 
Accordingly, PHMSA is withdrawing the May 5, 2008, NPRM and terminating 
this rulemaking proceeding. Depending on appropriated and available 
funding for Fiscal Year 2010, we may initiate a future rulemaking to 
adjust registration fees for future registration years.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 9, 2009 under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR part 106.
Theodore L. Willke,
Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety.
[FR Doc. E9-14569 Filed 6-19-09; 8:45 am]