Summary: H.R.3520 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part II (10/17/1990)

Hazardous Materials Transportation Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 1990 - Amends the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (the Act) to direct the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) to issue regulations (including standards for route designations) for the safe transportation of hazardous materials in domestic and foreign commerce. Directs the Secretary to require by regulation the inspection and certification for compliance with Federal motor carrier safety laws of motor vehicles that transport highway route controlled quantity radioactive material.

Prohibits States or Indian tribes from establishing laws or standards with respect to the classification, packaging, handling, marking, documentation, and notification of the release of a hazardous material. Cites the area in which Federal regulations preempt State or Indian tribe hazardous materials requirements.

Authorizes States and Indian tribes to establish and enforce specific highway routes (together with limitations and requirements) over which hazardous materials may and may not be transported in their respective jurisdictions. Requires the Secretary by regulation to establish standards for States and Indian tribes to use in establishing such routes, limitations, and requirements. Sets forth the general contents of such standards.

Authorizes the Secretary to promulgate regulations for dispute resolution among the States or Indian tribes regarding hazardous materials highway route designations. Permits States or Indian tribes to petition for judicial review of the dispute resolution decisions. Grants the Secretary discretion to either adopt or reject hazardous materials transportation standards adopted by international bodies according to the Secretary's perception of the public interest.

Directs the Secretary of Labor to issue standards requiring an employer to retain the markings on packages and other containers that contain hazardous materials.

Requires the Secretary to issue, by regulation, requirements for the training of hazmat employees (employees of transportors of hazardous materials) in the safe handling and transportation of hazardous materials.

Provides for: (1) filing of registration statements with the Secretary by persons that transport hazardous materials; (2) registration fees; and (3) issuance of safety permits for the transportation of such materials.

Requires the Secretary to make grants to States for: (1) developing emergency plans with respect to flow patterns of hazardous materials within and between States; (2) determining the need for regional hazardous materials emergency response teams; and (3) training public sector employees to respond to accidents and incidents involving hazardous materials. Requires the Secretary to make such training grants to Indian tribes as well. Provides for allocation and use of training funds and for the training curriculum.

Requires the Secretary to assess an annual fee against persons required to file a registration statement for deposit into a treasury account for promoting training and planning programs with respect to the safe transportation of hazardous materials. Authorizes funding for such programs.

Repeals the publication requirement for renewal of exemptions from regulations governing the transportation of hazardous materials.

Revises the definition of "radioactive materials" to exclude material which the Secretary determines is of such low order of radioactivity that when transported it does not pose a significant hazard to health or safety.

Directs the Secretary to conduct a continuing review of all aspects of the transportation of hazardous materials and take appropriate steps to assure the safe transportation of such materials. (Currently, the Secretary is required only to recommend such steps.)

Sets forth a civil penalty of not less than $250 in the case of an employee, or $1,000 in the case of all other persons, for violations committed under this Act. Sets forth both civil and criminal penalties for persons who fail to pay fees authorized under this Act.

Preempts State and Indian tribe requirements with requirements established under such Act if: (1) compliance with both State or Indian tribe requirement and any requirement of the Act is not possible; or (2) the State or Indian tribe requirement as enforced creates an obstacle to the execution of the Act. Allows a person who is adversely affected by a decision to preempt or waive preemption to petition for judicial review with the appropriate U.S. district court.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1991 and 1992.

Prohibits a person from: (1) representing, by marking or otherwise, that a container or package of hazardous materials is safe or in compliance with the safe transportation requirements of the Act; (2) representing that such container or package contains a hazardous material if such material is not present; or (3) altering any required marking or packaging of hazardous materials.

Requires motor carriers that receive an unsatisfactory safety rating from the Secretary to take appropriate action within 30 days to improve such rating to satisfactory. Prohibits motor carriers which receive an unsatisfactory safety rating from operating a commercial motor vehicle until they receive a satisfactory rating.

Prohibits Federal agencies from using a motor carrier which has received an unsatisfactory safety rating to provide transportation of hazardous materials for which placarding of motor vehicles is required.

Requires the Secretary to establish a working group comprised of State and local officials to: (1) establish uniform forms and procedures for a State to register and permit persons to transport hazardous materials in such State; and (2) determine whether or not to limit the filing of State registration and permitting forms and collection of fees in a State in which a person resides or has it principal place of business. Requires the working group to report to the Congress its findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Requires the Secretary to issue regulations implementing such recommendations.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1991 through 1993.

Authorizes grants for the training and education of hazmat employees with regard to the safe transportation of hazardous materials and the emergency preparedness for responding to accidents involving such transportation. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1993 through 1998.

Subjects all persons under contract with the Federal Government for the packaging and transportation of hazardous materials to Federal, State, and local government and Indian tribe safe transportation requirements to the same extent as persons engaged in such activities in or affecting commerce are subject to safe transportation requirements.

Amends the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 to authorize the Secretary to reduce the liability of motor carriers which transport hazardous materials in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, America Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands if the chief executive officer of such territory requests such reduction and: (1) it will not adversely affect public safety; (2) it will prevent a serious disruption in such transportation service; and (3) liability insurance at the $5,000,000 level is not readily available.

Authorizes a State that receives assistance under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 to enforce its own commercial motor vehicle safety requirements with respect to commercial motor vehicles and operators leased to the United States.

Requires the Secretary to initiate rulemaking proceedings to determine methods: (1) of improving the current system of placarding vehicles transporting hazardous materials; and (2) for establishing a central reporting system and computerized telecommunications data center for identifying modes of transporting hazardous materials, and for providing information to facilitate responses to accidents involving such transportation.

Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the Secretary to initiate a rulemaking proceeding with respect to the feasibility of requiring hazardous materials carriers to establish continually monitored telephone systems equipped to provide emergency response information and assistance with respect to hazardous materials accidents.

Requires the Secretary to initiate rulemaking proceedings on methods for making commercial motor vehicles more visible to motorists in order to reduce accidents at night.

Requires each of the ten regional offices of the Department of Transportation to include at least one inspector of hazardous materials for enforcing the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.

Requires the Secretary to report to the Congress on motor carrier responsibility for accidents involving the transportation of hazardous materials.