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Application by the Kiesel Company for a Preemption Determnination as to Missouri Prohibition of Recontainerization of Hazardous Waste at Transfer Facility

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AGENCY:

Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), DOT. Start Printed Page 49634

ACTION:

Public notice and invitation to comment.

SUMMARY:

Interested parties are invited to submit comments on an application by The Kiesel Company (Kiesel) for an administrative determination whether Federal hazardous material transportation law preempts a Missouri regulation prohibiting the recontainerization of hazardous waste by a transporter at a transfer facility.

Dates:

Comments received on or before September 28, 2000, and rebuttal comments received on or before November 13, 2000, will be considered before issuance of an administrative ruling on Kiesel's application. Rebuttal comments may discuss only those issues raised by comments received during the initial comment period and may not discuss new issues.

ADDRESSES:

The application and all comments received may be reviewed in the Dockets Office, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590-0001. The application and all comments are also available on-line through the home page of DOT's Docket Management System, at “http://dms.dot.gov.

Comments must refer to Docket No. RSPA-00-xxxx and may be submitted to the docket either in writing or electronically. Send three copies of each written comment to the Dockets Office at the above address. If you wish to receive confirmation of receipt of your written comments, include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. To submit comments electronically, log onto the Docket Management System website at http://dms.dot.gov, and click on “Help Information” to obtain instructions.

A copy of each comment must also be sent to (1) Kiesel's attorney, Mr. Richard Greenberg, Rosenbloom, Goldenhersh, Silverstein Zafft, P.C., 7743 Forsyth Blvd., Fourth Floor, St. Louis, MO 63105-1812, and (2) Mr. Stephen M. Mahood, Director, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102. A certification that a copy has been sent to these persons must also be included with the comment. (The following format is suggested: “I certify that copies of this comment have been sent to Messrs. Greenberg and Mahood at the addresses specified in the Federal Register.”)

A list and subject matter index of hazardous materials preemption cases, including all inconsistency rulings and preemption determinations issued, are available through the home page of RSPA's Office of the Chief Counsel, at “http://rspa-atty.dot.gov. A paper copy of this list and index will be provided at no cost upon request to the individual named in For Further Information Contact below.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Frazer C. Hilder, Office of the Chief Counsel, Research and Special Programs Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC 20590-0001 (Tel. No. 202-366-4400).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Application for a Preemption Determination

Kiesel has applied for a determination that Federal hazardous material transportation law, 49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq., preempts Missouri's prohibition of recontainerization of hazardous wastes by a transporter at a transfer facility.

In its application, Kiesel states that it is a licensed hazardous waste transporter that has a rail siding at its facility located within the City of St. Louis, Missouri. Kiesel advises that it wants to off-load hazardous waste from rail cars to trucks “for transport to a disposal site in Illinois licensed to receive and dispose of hazardous waste.” According to Kiesel, it has been advised by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that this transfer from rail car to motor vehicle would constitute a prohibited “recontainerization” of hazardous waste. Kiesel states that DOT has found “an identical regulation” preempted in Preemption Determination (PD) No. 12(R), New York Department of Environmental Conservation Requirements on the Transfer and Storage of Hazardous Waste Incidental to Transportation, 63 FR 62517 (Dec. 6, 1995), decision on petition for reconsideration, 65 FR 15970 (Apr. 3, 1997), petition for judicial review dismissed, New York v. U.S. Dep't of Transportation, 37 F. Supp. 2d 152 (N.D.N.Y. 1999). Kiesel refers to these decisions in which, according to Kiesel, DOT “recognized that the prohibition of recontainerization ‘applies to the “repackaging” and “handling” of hazardous materials and transportation and is not substantively the same as requirements in the HMR.”'

The DNR's regulations on transporters of hazardous waste are set forth in 10 CSR 25-6.263 and consist of Federal regulations issued by DOT and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), plus additional State requirements. Among the additional State requirements is the following prohibition against recontainerization in 10 CSR 25-6.263(2)(A).10.H:

Recontainerization of hazardous wastes at a transfer facility is prohibited; however, hazardous waste containers may be overpacked to contain leaking or to safeguard against potential leaking. When containers are overpacked, the transporter shall affix labels to the overpack container, which are identical to the labels on the original shipping container; * * *

In 10 CSR 25-6.263(1), DNR has adopted and incorporated by reference EPA's “Standards Applicable to Transporters of Hazardous Waste” in 40 CFR part 263; DOT's Hazardous Materials Regulations in 49 CFR parts 171-180; and DOT's Drug Testing and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in 49 CFR parts 40, 383, 387, and 390-397 (except for § 390.3(f)(2)). As discussed in PD-12(R), 60 FR at 62534, neither EPA's regulations nor the HMR contain any general prohibition against the transfer of hazardous materials from one container to another, or the combination of commodities within the same packaging. Specific provisions in the HMR prohibit:

—mixing two materials in the same packaging or container when it “is likely to cause a dangerous evolution of heat, or flammable or poisonous gases or vapors, or to produce corrosive materials.” 49 CFR 173.21(e).

—loading two or more materials in the same cargo tank motor vehicle “if, as a result of any mixture of the materials, an unsafe condition would occur, such as an explosion, fire, excessive increase in pressure or heat, or the release of toxic vapors.” 49 CFR 173.33(a)(2).

—loading certain flammable materials from tank trucks or drums into tank cars on the carrier's property. 49 CFR 173.10(e).

—transferring a Class 3 (flammable liquid) material between containers or vehicles “on any public highway, street, or road, except in case of emergency.” 49 CFR 177.856(d).

In addition, the HMR contain segregation requirements, applicable to rail and motor carriers, limiting which hazardous materials may be “loaded, transported, or stored together.” 49 CFR 174.81(f), 177.848(d). EPA's regulations provide that a hazardous waste transporter must also follow the requirements applicable to generators if it “[m]ixes hazardous wastes of different DOT shipping descriptions by placing them into a single container.” 40 CFR 263.10(c).

II. Federal Preemption

Section 5125 of Title 49 U.S.C. contains several preemption provisions that are relevant to Kiesel's application. Subsection (a) provides that—in the absence of a waiver of preemption by Start Printed Page 49635DOT under § 5125(e) or specific authority in another Federal law—a requirement of a State, political subdivision of a State, or Indian tribe is preempted if—

(1) complying with a requirement of the State, political subdivision or tribe and a requirement of this chapter or a regulation issued under this chapter is not possible; or

(2) the requirement of the State, political subdivision, or Indian tribe, as applied or enforced, is an obstacle to the accomplishing and carrying out this chapter or a regulation prescribed under this chapter.

These two paragraphs set forth the “dual compliance” and “obstacle” criteria that RSPA had applied in issuing inconsistency rulings prior to 1990, under the original preemption provision in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA). Pub. L. 93-633 § 112(a), 88 Stat. 2161 (1975). The dual compliance and obstacle criteria are based on U.S. Supreme Court decisions on preemption. Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52 (1941); Florida Lime Avocado Growers, Inc. v. Paul, 373 U.S. 132 (1963); Ray v. Atlantic Richfield, Inc., 435 U.S. 151 (1978).

Subsection (b)(1) of 49 U.S.C. 5125 provides that a non-Federal requirement concerning any of the following subjects, that is not “substantively the same as” a provision of Federal hazardous material transportation law or a regulation prescribed under that law, is preempted unless it is authorized by another Federal law or DOT grants a waiver of preemption:

(A) the designation, description, and classification of hazardous material.

(B) the packing, repacking, handling, labeling, marking, and placarding of hazardous material.

(C) the preparation, execution, and use of shipping documents related to hazardous material and requirements related to the number, contents, and placement of those documents.

(D) the written notification, recording, and reporting of the unintentional release in transportation of hazardous material.

(E) the design, manufacturing, fabricating, marking, maintenance, reconditioning, repairing, or testing of a packaging or a container represented, marked, certified, or sold as qualified for use in transporting hazardous material.

To be “substantively the same,” the non-Federal requirement must “conform[] in every significant respect to the Federal requirement. Editorial and other similar de minimis changes are permitted.” 49 CFR 107.202(d).

These preemption provisions in 49 U.S.C. 5125 carry out Congress's view that a single body of uniform Federal regulations promotes safety in the transportation of hazardous materials. In considering the HMTA, the Senate Commerce Committee “endorse[d] the principle of preemption in order to preclude a multiplicity of State and local regulations and the potential for varying as well as conflicting regulations in the area of hazardous materials transportation.” S. Rep. No. 1102, 93rd Cong. 2nd Sess. 37 (1974). When it amended the HMTA in 1990, Congress specifically found that:

(3) many States and localities have enacted laws and regulations which vary from Federal laws and regulations pertaining to the transportation of hazardous materials, thereby creating the potential for unreasonable hazards in other jurisdictions and confounding shippers and carriers which attempt to comply with multiple and conflicting registration, permitting, routing, notification, and other regulatory requirements,

(4) because of the potential risks to life, property, and the environment posed by unintentional releases of hazardous materials, consistency in laws and regulations governing the transportation of hazardous materials is necessary and desirable,

(5) in order to achieve greater uniformity and to promote the public health, welfare, and safety at all levels, Federal standards for regulating the transportation of hazardous materials in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce are necessary and desirable.

Pub. L. 101-615 § 2, 104 Stat. 3244. A Federal Court of Appeals has found that uniformity was the “linchpin” in the design of the HMTA, including the 1990 amendments that expanded the original preemption provisions. Colorado Pub. Util. Comm'n v. Harmon, 951 F.2d 1571, 1575 (10th Cir. 1991). (In 1994, Congress revised, codified and enacted the HMTA “without substantive change,” at 49 U.S.C. Chapter 51. Pub. L. 103-272, 108 Stat. 745.)

III. Preemption Determinations

Under 49 U.S.C. 5125(d)(1), any directly affected person may apply to the Secretary of Transportation for a determination whether a State, political subdivision or Indian tribe requirement is preempted. The Secretary of Transportation has delegated authority to RSPA to make determinations of preemption, except for those that concern highway routing, which have been delegated to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 49 CFR 1.53(b).

Section 5125(d)(1) requires that notice of an application for a preemption determination must be published in the Federal Register. Following the receipt and consideration of written comments, RSPA will publish its determination in the Federal Register. See 49 CFR 107.209. A short period of time is allowed for filing of petitions for reconsideration. 49 CFR 107.211. Any party to the proceeding may seek judicial review in a Federal district court. 49 U.S.C. 5125(f).

Preemption determinations do not address issues of preemption arising under the Commerce Clause, the Fifth Amendment or other provisions of the Constitution or under statutes other than the Federal hazardous material transportation law unless it is necessary to do so in order to determine whether a requirement is authorized by another Federal law. A State, local or Indian tribe requirement is not authorized by another Federal law merely because it is not preempted by another Federal statute. Colorado Pub. Util. Comm'n v. Harmon, above, 951 F.2d at 1581 n.10.

In making preemption determinations under 49 U.S.C. 5125(d), RSPA is guided by the principles and policies set forth in Executive Order No. 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255 (August 4, 1999). Section 4(a) of that Executive Order authorizes preemption of State laws only when a statute contains an express preemption provision, there is other clear evidence that Congress intended to preempt State law, or the exercise of State authority directly conflicts with the exercise of Federal authority. Section 5125 contains express preemption provisions, which RSPA has implemented through its regulations.

IV. Public Comments

All comments should be limited to the issue whether 49 U.S.C. 5125 preempts the first sentence of 10 CSR 25-6.263(2)(A)10.H. Comments should specifically address the preemption criteria detailed in Part II, above, and set forth in detail the manner in which the Missouri prohibition against recontainerization is applied and enforced. Persons intending to comment should review the standards and procedures governing consideration of applications for preemption determinations, set forth at 49 CFR 107.201-107.211.

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Issued in Washington, DC on August 4, 2000.

Robert A. McGuire,

Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, Research and Special Programs Administration.

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[FR Doc. 00-20482 Filed 8-11-00; 8:45 am]

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