[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 113 (Monday, June 13, 2022)]
[Pages 35847-35849]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-12720]



Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2021-0109; Notice No. 2022-10]

Hazardous Materials: Frequently Asked Questions--Applicability of 
the Hazardous Materials Regulations; Extension of Comment Period and 
Notice of Public Informational Webinar

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

ACTION: Notice; extension of comment period and informational webinar 


SUMMARY: On March 22, 2022, PHMSA announced an initiative to convert 
historical letters of interpretation applicable to the Hazardous 
Materials Regulations (HMR) that have been issued to specific 
stakeholders into broadly applicable frequently asked questions on its 
website. PHMSA requested comment on the initiative and input on the 
prioritization of future sets of frequently asked questions. In this 
notice, PHMSA is extending the comment period from May 23, 2022, until 
July 22, 2022. In addition, PHMSA plans to host a webinar to discuss 
the process and intent of this initiative with stakeholders on June 27, 

DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before 
July 22, 2022. Comments received after that date will be considered to 
the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the Docket Number 
PHMSA-2021-0109 by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management System; 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: Docket Management System; 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 (PHMSA-2021-0109) for this notice. To avoid duplication, 
please use only one of these four methods. All comments received will 
be posted without change to the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) 
and will include any personal information you provide.
    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 Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public. DOT posts these comments, without edit, 
including any personal information the commenter provides, to http://www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/
ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at http://www.dot.gov/privacy.
    Confidential Business Information (CBI): CBI is commercial or 
financial information that is both customarily and actually treated as 
private by its owner. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 
U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public disclosure. If your comments 
responsive to this notice contain commercial or financial information 
that is customarily treated

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as private, that you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or 
responsive to this notice, it is important that you clearly designate 
the submitted comments as ``CBI.'' Please mark each page of your 
submission containing CBI as ``PROPIN.'' Submissions containing CBI 
should be sent to Arthur Pollack, Standards and Rulemaking Division, 
(202) 366-8553, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, 
U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, 
Washington, DC 20590-0001. Any commentary that PHMSA receives which is 
not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket 
for this notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Arthur Pollack, Standards and 
Rulemaking Division, (202) 366-8553, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials 
Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.


I. Webinar Details and Public Participation

    The webinar will take place on June 27, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. EST and 
will be open to the public. Attendees must register on the meeting 
website at https://opsweb.phmsa.dot.gov/hm_seminars/faq_webinar.asp.

II. Background

    Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5101 et 
seq.) directs the Secretary of Transportation (``the Secretary'') to 
establish regulations for the safe and secure transportation of 
hazardous materials in commerce. The Secretary is authorized to apply 
those regulations to (1) persons who transport hazardous materials in 
commerce, (2) persons who cause hazardous materials to be transported 
in commerce, (3) persons who manufacture or maintain a packaging or a 
component of a packaging that is represented, marked, certified, or 
sold as qualified for use in the transportation of a hazardous material 
in commerce, (4) persons who indicate by marking or other means that a 
hazardous material being transported in commerce is present in a 
package or transport conveyance when it is not, and (5) persons who 
tamper with a package or transport conveyance used to transport 
hazardous materials in commerce or a required marking, label, placard, 
or shipping description.
    In 49 CFR 1.97, the Secretary delegated authority to issue 
regulations for the safe and secure transportation of hazardous 
materials in commerce to the PHMSA Administrator. The PHMSA 
Administrator issues the HMR under that delegated authority. The HMR 
prescribes requirements for the safe transportation in commerce of 
hazardous materials, including provisions for classification, 
packaging, and hazard communication.
    To facilitate its safety mission and promote better awareness of 
its programs and compliance requirements, the Office of Hazardous 
Materials Safety (OHMS) periodically issues agency guidance in the 
Federal Register and on its publicly available website \1\ for use by 
the regulated community, PHMSA staff, and federal, state, and local 
partners. This information is non-binding material given to the public 
pertaining to information and resources useful to comply with the HMR 
and is also used to make the public aware of safety issues or best 
practices. PHMSA issues this information through posted frequently 
asked questions (FAQs), advisory bulletins, publications, and policy 
manuals. PHMSA also answers questions from stakeholders through its 
staff and the Hazardous Materials Information Center (HMIC) \2\ and by 
issuing letters of interpretation (LOIs). As provided in 49 CFR 105.20 
(Guidance and Interpretations), a member of the public may request 
information and answers to questions on HMR compliance by contacting 
the OHMS Standards and Rulemaking Division or the HMIC.\3\ OHMS 
receives an average of 250 requests for LOIs each year. Some of these 
requests for interpretations have previously been asked, answered, and 
published on PHMSA's Online Code of Federal Regulations (oCFR) website 
at https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/standards-rulemaking/hazmat/phmsas-online-cfr-ocfr.

    \1\ https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/guidance?keywords=security&issued_date_from=&field_issued_date_value_1=.
    \2\ The HMIC can be reached at 1-800-467-4922 and 
[email protected]. For additional information visit: https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/standards-rulemaking/hazmat/hazardous-materials-information-center.
    \3\ To request a formal letter of interpretation, persons may 
also write to: Mr. Shane Kelley, Director, Standards and Rulemaking 
Division, U.S. DOT/PHMSA (PHH-10), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, East 
Building, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20590. To obtain information and 
answers pertaining to statute compliance and preemption, persons 
must, as prescribed by 49 CFR 105.20(b), contact the office of the 
Chief Counsel at: Office of the Chief Counsel, U.S. DOT/PHMSA (PHC-
10), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, East Building, Washington, DC 20590, 
or at (202) 366-4400.

    The purpose of the FAQ initiative is to optimize the effectiveness, 
reach, and impact of the OHMS LOI process. Through publishing FAQs, 
PHMSA will memorialize in broadly applicable guidance its historical 
LOIs for, and applicable to, specific stakeholders regulated by the 
HMR. Specifically, this initiative adapts currently available 
stakeholder engagement functions to more directly appeal to a broader 
regulated community, develop a systematic process in managing/curating 
agency information that can be incorporated conveniently into existing 
workflows, and create helpful tools for current stakeholders. The 
success of this initiative will be measurable by monitoring PHMSA's 
website engagement, the rate of incoming calls to the HMIC, and the 
volume of incoming LOI requests. A successful project should see an 
increase in website engagement with either static or reduced rates of 
calls to the HMIC and a reduced volume of incoming LOI requests. In 
addition, the interpretation workflow should reflect more efficient 
processing and productivity.

III. Federal Register Notice

    On March 22, 2022, PHMSA published Notice No. 2022-02 [87 FR 16308] 
announcing an initiative to publish FAQs on its website to facilitate 
better public understanding and awareness of the hazardous materials 
regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171 through 180). The FAQs in the notice 
are intended to clarify, explain, and promote better understanding of 
the HMR. FAQs are not substantive rules, and do not create legally 
enforceable rights, assign duties, or impose new obligations not 
otherwise contained in the existing regulations and standards, but are 
provided to help the regulated community understand how to comply with 
the regulations.
    PHMSA is creating a repository of these questions, which will 
reduce the need for issuing duplicative LOIs to multiple stakeholders 
and will assist PHMSA in streamlining the use of its resources by 
significantly reducing frequently asked LOIs. This initiative will 
provide additional value to PHMSA's oCFR tool found at https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/standards-rulemaking/hazmat/phmsas-online-cfr-ocfr. 
The oCFR tool is an interactive web-based application that allows users 
to navigate with a single click between all content, including LOIs 
connected to an HMR citation. The oCFR tool includes the ability to 
sort, filter, and export search results.
    PHMSA expects this initiative to ultimately allow the agency to 
devote resources to other hazardous materials transportation safety 
projects such as petitions for rulemakings, public

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outreach and engagement, and regulatory and policy improvements.

IV. Comment Period Extension

    PHMSA initially provided a 60-day comment period for the March 22, 
2022, Federal Register notice with a May 23, 2022, closing date. In 
response to a request to extend the comment period from the Dangerous 
Goods Advisory Council, PHMSA is extending the comment period an 
additional 60 days. The comment period will now close on July 22, 2022. 
This extension provides the public additional time to provide comment 
on the FAQ initiative. In addition, PHMSA will host a webinar to 
provide detailed information on the process and intent of the FAQ 
initiative. The webinar will be held on June 27, 2022.

    Signed in Washington, DC, on June 8, 2022, 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. 2022-12720 Filed 6-10-22; 8:45 am]