[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 113 (Thursday, June 12, 2014)]
[Pages 33802-33803]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-13685]



Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2014-0085; Notice 14-9]

Hazardous Materials: Notice of Availability of Draft 
Environmental Assessment and Request for Public Comment for a Special 
Permit Relating to the Transport of Precursor Chemicals From Syria in 
Port Arthur, Texas

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of Availability and Request for Public Comment.


SUMMARY: This notice informs the public of the availability of a draft 
environmental assessment in support of a special permit application 
that would allow offloading and the transport by highway of hazardous 
materials in non-DOT Specification Packaging in Port Arthur, Texas. 
PHMSA requests public comment on the draft environmental assessment.

DATES: PHMSA will accept comments on the draft environmental assessment 
until close of business June 23, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted in the following ways:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow 
instructions for submitting comments.
    Mail: Docket Management System: U.S. Department of Transportation, 
Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. If you submit your 
comments by mail, please submit two copies. To receive confirmation 
that PHMSA has received your comments, please include a self-addressed 
stamped postcard.
    Hand Delivery: Docket Management System: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 between 
9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Fax: Docket Management System: U.S. Department of Transportation, 
Docket Operations, 202-493-2251.
    Instructions: Include the agency name and docket number PHMSA-2014-
0085 (Notice 14-9) at the beginning of your comment. Please note that 
all comments received will be posted without change to 
www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any 
written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by 
the name of the individual submitting the document (or signing the 
document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor 
union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in 
the Federal Register, 65 FR 19477, April 11, 2000, or you may visit 
    Docket: For access to the docket to read the draft environmental 
assessment or comments received, go to www.regulations.gov or DOT's 
Docket Operations Office (see hand delivery address above).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alice Koethe, Attorney, Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Office of the Chief Counsel, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590; 202-366-7207; 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347, the Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) NEPA implementing regulations, 40 CFR parts 
1500-1508, and DOT Order 5610.1C, Procedures for Considering 
Environmental Impacts, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety 
Administration (PHMSA) has prepared a draft environmental assessment 
(Draft EA) for an application for a Special Permit/Requested Relief of 
Certain Packaging Requirements for Highway Motor Vehicles relating to 
the transport of precursor chemicals from Syria in Port Arthur, Texas. 
PHMSA serves as the lead agency for the Draft EA, and the U.S. Coast 
Guard, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of the 
Treasury serve as cooperating agencies.
    The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and 
the Department of State have informed PHMSA that an operation is 
underway to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program, including the 
removal of 19 different chemicals from Syria used as precursors to 
chemical weapons. Five of these chemicals are bound for Port Arthur, 
Texas, where they will be destroyed and disposed (the ``operation''). 
These five chemicals have been/are to be transferred to a Norwegian 
sovereign immune cargo vessel, which is ultimately bound for Port 
Arthur, Texas. There are no explosives or munitions associated with the 
chemicals, and these chemicals have not been assembled into weapons or 
mixed for weapons purposes. OPCW informed PHMSA that these five 
chemicals are being shipped in 16 20-ft ISO maritime shipping 
containers in various packagings. However, due to incomplete 
information from international officials and questions about loading, 
PHMSA cannot confirm that the UN packagings containing the chemicals 
are compliant with the Hazardous Materials Regulations, 49 CFR Parts 
171-180 (HMR).
    Veolia is the private company that the OPCW selected for the 
destruction and disposal of the chemicals. Upon arrival at the Port of 
Port Arthur, Veolia's subcontractor, Bed Rock Inc, d/b/a/Tri State 
Motor Transit Company (Tri State), will transport the chemicals 15 
miles overland from the Port of Port Arthur to Veolia's approved 
disposal site in Port Arthur, Texas. Due to the lack of compliance 
assurance with the HMR, Veolia has requested a special permit (SP) from 
    PHMSA has prepared the Draft EA analyzing the environmental impacts 
of four alternatives: (1) The no action alternative, where PHMSA does 
not issue a SP because the chemicals do not

[[Page 33803]]

enter and are not destroyed in the United States; (2) PHMSA does not 
issue a SP and exercises agency discretion to forgo enforcement of the 
HMR for the 15-mile overland transport; (3) PHMSA issues a SP, inspects 
the drums for HMR compliance prior to the arrival in Port Arthur, and 
requires any non-compliant or unsafe drums to be placed into salvage 
drums; and (4) PHMSA issues a SP for relief from the HMR.
    The Draft EA is available online at www.regulations.gov under 
docket number PHMSA-2014-0085. The Draft EA is also available on 
PHMSA's Web site at http://phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/port-arthur. The Draft 
EA is also available for inspection locally at the following public 
library: Port Arthur Public Library, 4615 9th Avenue (at Highway 73), 
Port Arthur, TX 77642, 409-985-8838. The anticipated delivery date to 
Port Arthur necessitates an abbreviated comment period of 10 days.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 6, 2014.
Magdy El-Sibaie,
Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
[FR Doc. 2014-13685 Filed 6-11-14; 8:45 am]