[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 53 (Tuesday, March 21, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 14499-14500]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-05488]



Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 171, 172, 173, 174, 177, 178, 179, and 180

[Docket No. PHMSA-2016-0077 (HM-251D)]
RIN 2137-AF24

Hazardous Materials: Volatility of Unrefined Petroleum Products 
and Class 3 Materials

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM); Extension of 
comment period.


SUMMARY: PHMSA is extending the comment period for an advance notice of 
proposed rulemaking that was published in the Federal Register on

[[Page 14500]]

January 18, 2017. In response to stakeholder requests, the comment 
period will be extended for an additional 60 days, from March 20, 2017 
to May 19, 2017.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 19, 2017. To the 
extent possible, PHMSA will consider late-filed comments during the 
next stage of the rulemaking process.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Docket No. PHMSA-2016-
0077 by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Operations, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Routing 
Symbol M-30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: To Docket Operations, Room W12-140 on the 
ground floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal Holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
docket number for this rulemaking at the beginning of the comment. Note 
that all comments received will be posted without change to the docket 
management system, including any personal information provided.
    Docket: For access to the dockets to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov, or DOT's Docket 
Operations Office (see ADDRESSES).
    Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments 
from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts 
these comments, without edit, including any personal information the 
commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system 
of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lad Falat, Director, Engineering and 
Research, (202) 366-4545, Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, 
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department 
of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-


I. Background

    On January 18, 2017, PHMSA published an advance notice of proposed 
rulemaking (ANPRM) titled, ``Hazardous Materials: Volatility of 
Unrefined Petroleum Products and Class 3 Materials,'' addressing the 
volatility of unrefined petroleum products and potentially all Class 3 
flammable liquids transported by means other than pipeline. See (82 FR 
5499). The ANPRM informed stakeholders of a possible change to the 
Hazardous Materials Regulations based on a petition for rulemaking 
submitted by the Attorney General of the State of New York regarding 
vapor pressure limits for crude oil.
    The ANPRM posed 39 questions on a wide variety of topics ranging 
from sampling and testing, proper classification, and numerous 
characteristics of crude oil relevant to its unique hazards. 
Specifically, PHMSA sought comments on whether there should be national 
vapor pressure standards for petroleum products and/or other Class 3 
hazardous materials and, if so, recommendations for such thresholds. It 
was the intent of the ANPRM to obtain the views of those affected by 
the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) Order, as well as those 
who are likely to be impacted by the changes proposed in the petition 
P-1669 (as discussed in detail in the January 18, 2017 ANPRM), 
including those who are likely to benefit from, be adversely affected 
by, or potentially be subject to additional regulation.
    PHMSA sought comment on the ANPRM to assist in:
    1. Determining the best metric or combination of metrics (vapor 
pressure or other metric) for measuring and controlling fire and 
explosion risk in crude oil transport;
    2. Quantifying the improvement in safety if any, due to risk 
reduction from implementation of vapor pressure thresholds at varying 
    3. Identifying offerors' compliance strategies and market impacts 
with Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) standards at varying levels of 
stringency, and estimating their economic costs and environmental 
    4. Identifying other regulations and industry practices, such as 
volatile organic compound emissions standards imposed through the Clean 
Air Act, or State regulations, or pipeline operator RVP standards, 
potentially affecting compliance strategies and costs, and safety 
    5. Evaluating the extent to which use of DOT Specification 117 tank 
cars mitigates the risk of transporting crude oil;
    6. Comparing compliance costs of mitigation strategies with risk 
reduction from adoption of the petition; and
    7. Balancing the benefits and costs in setting the level of the 
chosen metric.

II. Comment Period Extension

    PHMSA received an initial request from the American Petroleum 
Institute (API) to extend the comment period for the ANPRM by 30 days. 
API indicated in their request that industry needs extra time to obtain 
information on experiences with classification, testing, sampling, and 
packaging of unrefined petroleum products. Because of the number of 
questions posted, the technical nature of the questions, and the 
potentially broad implications to operations throughout the supply 
chain, API believes the opportunity for a thorough review before 
responding to PHMSA is crucial for any future rulemaking. Subsequent to 
the API request, PHMSA has received additional requests from other 
entities to extend the comment period. For instance, the North Dakota 
Petroleum Council also requests an extension; however, they have 
requested a 60-day extension.
    PHMSA provided an initial 60-day comment period to the ANPRM. 
However, due to our desire to collect meaningful input from a number of 
potentially affected stakeholders and to the demand by various 
entities, we agree with the requests to extend the comment period to 
allow further time for public input. Given the number and variety of 
requests, PHMSA is extending the comment period by 60 days.

    Issued in Washington, DC on March 15, 2017, under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.97.
William S. Schoonover,
Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
[FR Doc. 2017-05488 Filed 3-20-17; 8:45 am]