Head of US truckers group critical of proposed cargo law

14 April 2011 23:53  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A US federal agency’s proposed law that would turn over regulation for cargo tanks to private agencies drew criticism from the head of a tank trucker’s group on Thursday.

The proposed law would allow the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to hand over regulatory responsibility for cargo tanks to two non-governmental codes and standards bodies - the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the National Board Inspection Code (NBIC).

“If my ship goes down, it’ll be because of this issue,” said John Conley, president of the National Tank Truck Carriers, whose member truckers specialise in the transport of oil, chemicals, gas and other commodities.

PHMSA officials, according to Bulk Transporter magazine, claim they lack the technical expertise to continue writing regulations for cargo tanks.

Agency officials also say the federal government cannot afford to pay the salaries necessary to attract high-calibre engineers with cargo tank experience.

In testimony before Congress last week, Conley said the ASME and NBIC filed the petitions leading to the proposed law.

Speaking in Houston, Conley said it would make training for cargo tank truck drivers much tougher by requiring them to purchase thick, expensive books of regulations - at a cost of $600 - that are currently free and available to the public.

Conley said in his testimony last week that outsourcing regulation to ASME and NBIC would compromise regulatory compliance and enforcement.

“There is no safety reason to fix a regulatory process that is not broken,” he said.

By: Lane Kelley
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