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1975, is the principal federal law in the United States regulating the transportation of hazardous materials. Its purpose is to “protect against the risks to life, property, and the environment that are inherent in the transportation of hazardous material in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce” under the authority of the United States Secretary of Transportation. The Act was passed as a means to improve the uniformity of existing regulations for transporting hazardous materials and to prevent spills and illegal dumping endangering the public and the environment, a problem exacerbated by uncoordinated and fragmented regulations. Violation of the HMTA regulations can result in civil or criminal penalties, unless a special permit is granted under the discretion of the Secretary of Transportation.
Illegal dumping in an area just off the New Jersey Turnpike. In the 1970s, landfills throughout the United States began to refuse the acceptance of hazardous wastes for the protection of property, the environment, and liability from what would later become known as Superfund sites, which dramatically increased the cost of disposal. The high cost of disposal led to increased dumping of materials that were increasingly being deemed “hazardous” by the public and government. Illegal dumping took place on vacant lots, along highways, or on the actual highways themselves.
At the same time, increased accidents and incidents with hazardous materials during transportation was a growing problem, causing damage to property and the environment, injury, and death. At the time, the U.
Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Federal Railroad Administration. The increasing frequency of illegal “midnight” dumping and spills, along with the already existing inconsistent regulations and fragmented enforcement, led to the passing of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act. It was signed into law on January 3, 1975 by President Gerald Ford, as a means to strengthen the Hazardous Materials Transportation Control Act of 1970 and unify existing regulations.
It is estimated that the United States alone makes over 500,000 shipments of hazardous materials every day. 2,700 other chemicals considered hazardous in interstate commerce. Accidents that occurred in the transportation of hazardous materials resulted in injury, death, and the destruction of property and the environment. However, the accidents were not limited to the road.
The number of incidents regarding hazardous wastes was second in railway accidents behind road accidents. The HMTA is one of the eight laws defining the EPA’s Emergency Management Program. It is in the Secretary’s authority to designate material or a group or class of material as hazardous when they meet the definition of hazardous material under the Act. A hazardous material, as defined by the Secretary, is any particular quantity or form of a material that may pose an unreasonable risk to health and safety or property during transportation in commerce.
This includes materials that are explosive, radioactive, infectious, flammable, toxic, oxidizing, or corrosive. Hazardous wastes and hazardous substances are designated by the U. The HMTA regulates all essential modes of transportation due to the dangers hazardous materials can present during shipment by ground, air, sea, or any other mode of transportation, such as through a pipeline.
Carriers are only required to ensure that required information accompanying hazardous materials packages is immediately available to personnel who would respond to an incident or conduct a hazardous materials investigation, per the amendments enforced in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act of 1990. Regulations are enforced by use of compliance orders, civil penalties, and injunctive relief, under the discretion of the Secretary of Transportation. Enforcement includes random packaging inspections by DOT inspectors at freight terminals, intermodal transfer facilities, airports, and other facilities to determine compliance with proper marking and labeling of packaging. DOT also has made it its intent to inspect manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and shipper’s facilities where manufacturing operations occur.
Act, if a required safety level does not exist. Special permits are effective for an initial period of no more than 2 years. Renewal of the special permits is granted under the Secretary’s discretion upon application for the permit for successive periods of no more than 4 years each. 5112, the additional period following permit renewal must be no more than 2 years each.
To apply for a special permit, the applicant must provide a safety analysis prescribed by the Secretary that justifies the special permit, and submit the application to the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The Secretary then must publish notice of the application in the Federal Register to give the opportunity for public review and comment. Upon the applicant’s filing of the application, the Secretary must issue, renew, or deny the application within 180 days after the first day of the month following the filing date.