Proposed rulemaking: Hazardous materials transportation

Comments solicited for DOT hazmat transport registration and fee program

    * $3.6 million for the development and periodic updating of a national curriculum used to train public sector emergency response and preparedness teams. The curriculum guidelines, developed by a committee of Federal, State, and local experts, include criteria for establishing training programs for emergency responders at five progressively more skilled levels: (1) First responder awareness, (2) first responder operations, (3) hazardous materials technician, (4) hazardous materials specialist, and (5) on-scene commander.

    * $2.8 million to monitor public sector emergency response planning and training for hazardous materials incidents, and to provide technical assistance to State or Indian tribe emergency response training and planning for hazardous materials incidents.

    * $6.5 million for periodic updating and distribution of the North American Emergency Response Guidebook. This guidebook provides immediate information on initial response to hazardous materials incidents, and is distributed free of charge to the response community.

    * $2.8 million for the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) to train instructors to conduct hazardous materials response training programs.

B. Increased Funding of the HMEP Grants Program

   An estimated 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials make their way through the national transportation system each day. It is impossible to predict when and where a hazardous materials incident may occur or what the nature of the incident may be. This potential threat requires state and local agencies to develop emergency plans and train emergency responders on the broadest possible scale.

   The HMEP training grants are essential for providing adequate training of persons throughout the nation who are responsible for responding to emergencies involving the release of hazardous materials. There are over 2 million emergency responders requiring initial training or periodic recertification training, including 250,000 paid firefighters, 850,000 volunteer firefighters, 725,000 law enforcement officers, and 500,000 emergency medical services (EMS) providers. Due to the high turnover rates of emergency response personnel, there is a continuing need to train a considerable number of recently recruited responders at the most basic level.

   In addition, training at more advanced levels is essential to ensure emergency response personnel are capable of effectively and safely responding to serious releases of hazardous materials. The availability of increased funding for the HMEP grants program will encourage State, tribal, and local agencies to provide more advanced training.

   The increased funding for HMEP grants will enable PHMSA to help meet previously unmet needs of State, local and tribal governments, and public and private trainers by providing for the following activities authorized by law:

    * $21,800,000 for training and planning grants, an increase of $9 million;

    * A new $4,000,000 grant program for non-profit hazmat employee organizations to train hazmat instructors who will train hazmat employees;

    * $1,000,000 for grants to support certain national organizations to train instructors to conduct hazardous materials response training programs, an increase of $750,000;

    * $625,000 for revising, publishing, and distributing the North American Emergency Response Guidebook, an increase of $125,000;

    * $200,000 for continuing development of a national training curriculum; and

    * $150,000 for monitoring and technical assistance.

III. Summary of Proposal To Increase HMEP Funding