ATA, CTA Call to on Government to Abandon Proposed Tanker Wetline Regulation

The American Trucking Associations and the Canadian Trucking Alliance called on the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to abandon proposed wetline regulations.

Wetlines are metal tubes that run along the underbelly of tank trucks used to transfer fuel into and out of the tanker. They are known to contain residue amounts of liquids following the loading process. PHMSA has proposed that for tank trailers containing flammable liquids, a limit of one liter of residue per line should be allowed, or the tank trailer should be fitted with bottom damage protection devices.

The rule would cover tank trailers carrying Class 3 flammable liquids, which includes gasoline and other products. Most straight trucks are exempted and existing trailers would have 12 years to come into compliance.

American Trucking Associations told the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration it “strongly opposes” the proposal. In comments filed April 27, ATA said PHMSA should drop its proposal because the costs associated with the rule “far exceed the purported public safety benefits.”

“Earlier this year, President Obama called on his regulatory agencies to examine their rules and to eliminate those that don’t make sense, this wetlines proposal is a perfect example of one of those rules,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said.

Similarly, in its official comments to the PHMSA on behalf of Canadian transborder tank truck carriers, the Canadian Trucking Alliance argued that there is no clear-cut rationale for a proposed regulation on wetlines and suggested that the current regulatory proposal should be withdrawn.

In its analysis of the proposed regulation, “Hazardous Materials: Safety Requirements for External Product Piping on Cargo Tanks Transporting Flammable Liquids,” CTA concluded that the cost-benefit study accompanying the proposal did not present any clear evidence to justify regulation. CTA noted that a previous attempt to regulate wetlines in 2006 was also withdrawn because it could not be justified on a cost-benefit basis.

In addition to concerns surrounding the cost-benefit analysis, CTA raised questions about the lack of industry experience with proposed wetline purging methods, and with the absence of a discussion in the proposed rule about safety hazards associated with retrofitting tank trailers.

The National Tank Truck Carriers Conference also opposes the proposal, saying it is bogus on economic and safety grounds, NTTC President John Conley said in comments published in Bulk Transporter.

“The retrofit that the regulation would mandate on existing trailers could well kill more cargo tank shop workers than it will ever prevent fatalities of motorists who plow into the side of gasoline tankers.” The heat from welding wetlines purging equipment onto the tank could ignite fumes inside the tank, he said.

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