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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #CHI-09-0089 ([Bob Craig])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Bob Craig

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Mr. Bob Craig
298 Pin Oak Trail
New Caney, Texas 77357

Ref. No. 09-0089

Dear Mr. Craig:

This responds to your January 12, 2009 letter concerning the definition of "person" in the Federal hazardous materials transportation law (Federal hazmat law; 49 USC 5101 et seq.) and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Please accept our apology for our delay in responding. Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1. Does the second use of the term "Government" in the definition of "person" in § 5102(9)(B)(ii) of Federal hazmat law refer only to the U.S. Federal government or to other government entities that offer hazardous materials for transportation in commerce?

A1. As used in § 5102(9)(B)(ii) of Federal hazmat law, the term "Government" means the Federal government.

Q2. Does the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have the authority to penalize state, local, tribal, territorial, or foreign governments for violations of the HMR?

A2. The HMR apply to the commercial transportation of hazardous materials. As provided in § 171.1, the HMR apply to any government department, agency, or instrumentality that offers hazardous materials for transportation in commerce or transports hazardous materials in commerce. A government jurisdiction or agency that transports hazardous materials for its own purposes, using its own personnel, is not engaged in transportation in commerce, and thus, the HMR do not apply. However, if the purpose of the transportation is commercial or if the government entity utilizes contract personnel to prepare the hazardous materials for transportation or offers hazardous materials for transportation to commercial carriers, then the HMR apply. DOT has the authority to penalize non-Federal government entities for violations of the HMR.

Q3. Is a government contractor, including a contractor utilized by a Federal department, agency or instrumentality, subject to penalties for violations of the HMR?

A3. Yes.




Joseph Solomey
Assistant Chief Counsel
Hazardous Materials Safety Law Division

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions