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Interpretation Response #09-0220 ([Airspeed Press] [Mr. Steven Lindblom])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Airspeed Press

Individual Name: Mr. Steven Lindblom

Location State: NH Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 29, 2010




Mr. Steven Lindblom

Airspeed Press

79 Old Denny Hill Road

Warner, NH 03278

Reference No. 09-0220

Dear Mr. Lindblom:

This is in response to your September 25, 2009 e-mail to the Hazardous Materials Information Center of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). You ask PHMSA to clarify the difference between the definitions for "commerce" and "transport" or "transportation" under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). You state you believe them to means the same thing. You also state you are working on a book about scuba tanks and are requesting this clarification to assist you with explaining to your readers when these tanks are and are not subject to the HMR in transportation.

Under Federal hazardous materials transportation law (Federal hazmat law), "transports" or "transportation" is defined as "the movement of property and loading, unloading, or storage incidental to the movement." Federal hazmat law also defines "commerce" as "trade or transportation in the jurisdiction of the United States between a place in a State and a place outside of the State; that affects trade or transportation between a place in a State and a place outside of the State; or on a United States-registered aircraft". See 49 U.S.C. 5102(1) and (13). Historically, PHMSA also interprets "in commerce" to mean trade or transportation in furtherance of a commercial enterprise. This interpretation is based in part on the Federal hazmat law's definition of "person" as including "a government, Indian tribe, or authority of a government or tribe that"(i) offers hazardous material for transportation in commerce; (ii) transports hazardous material to further a commercial enterprise; or (iii) designs, manufactures, fabricates, inspects, marks, maintains, reconditions, repairs, or tests a package, container, or packaging component that is represented, marked, certified, or sold as qualified for use in transporting hazardous materials in commerce"." See 49 U.S.C. 5102(9); see also 49 CFR § 171.8.

Therefore, (1) the individual who transports his/her own scuba tank for personal, non-commercial use (e.g., recreation, sport fishing) is not subject to the HMR; (2) the scuba instructor who transports scuba tanks for use by his (paying) students as part of their instruction is subject to the HMR; and (3) the boat repair facility that uses scuba tanks as part of their examination of the boat's hull and repair operations is subject to the HMR when it transports the scuba tanks.

I hope this satisfies your request.


Susan Gorsky

Regulations Officer

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations