Hazardous Materials Authority Transferred

The Office of the Secretary of Transportation issued a final rule establishing the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Innovative Technology Administration and transferring certain responsibilities of the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) on Feb. 20, 2005.

All of RSPA’s responsibility for pipeline and hazardous materials safety now transfers to the new Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The final rulemaking states that the administrators of the new administrations can re-delegate their powers and duties if not inconsistent with statute.

Under the new rules, the PHMSA has responsibility for administering a national safety program for multi-modal transportation of hazardous materials. This includes responsibilities for security.

Perhaps more controversial is the move placing responsibility for intermodal transportation under the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). Included in RITA’s responsibilities are “actions relating to the duty of carriers to provide safe and adequate service.”

In addition to its responsibilities for pipeline and hazardous materials safety, PHMSA will take on responsibilities for the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 1990.

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