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Interpretation Response #16-0158 ([PRI International, Inc.] [Mr. Vincent Vitollo])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: PRI International, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Vincent Vitollo

Location State: PA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 11, 2016

Mr. Vincent Vitollo
The Journal of Hazmat Transportation
President and Publisher
PRI International, Inc.
404 Price Street
West Chester, PA  19382

Reference No. 16-0158

Dear Mr. Vitollo:

This letter is in response to your August 26, 2016, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to reverse logistics.  Specifically, you ask about regulatory language that was proposed in the HM-253 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published on August 11, 2014 [79 FR 46748].  

You note that the NPRM included proposed language in § 173.157 stating:

When transported by motor vehicle in conformance with this section, a hazardous material is not subject to any other requirements of this subchapter besides those set forth and referenced in this section.  

You further note that the sentence was not included in the HM-253 final rule published on March 31, 2016 [81 FR 18527].  Therefore, you seek comment on your literal reading of the HM-253 final rule, which is that shipments made by private carriers under § 173.157(c) would be subject to training requirements under Subpart H, Shipping Papers, Labeling, Marking, and Placarding.  

You are correct that the Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration (PHMSA) removed the cited language from the HM-253 final rule.  In drafting the final rule, PHMSA determined that separate conditions would be allowed for reverse logistics shipments made by private carrier versus non-private carrier.  This modification sought to ensure that reverse logistics shipments made by non-private carrier could not be transported by aircraft.  When addressing shipments by non-private carrier, shippers are directed to the limited quantity sections for the applicable hazard class.  These limited quantity reverse logistics shipments are then excepted from the training, labeling, and placarding requirements.  Therefore, shipments made as reverse logistics limited
quantity shipments would only require a limited quantity marking and the limited training requirements as outlined in the reverse logistics section.  PHMSA intended to include in the final rule these same exceptions for private carriers, but as you note, the language was not specifically stated in § 173.157(c).  PHMSA will work to clarify this language in a future rulemaking.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division
173.157, 173.157(c)


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.157 Reverse logistics-General requirements and exceptions for reverse logistics
173.157 Reverse logistics-General requirements and exceptions for reverse logistics