Denham Statement from Hearing on Issues for Hazardous Materials Reauthorization
Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA)
Our hearing today will focus on reauthorization of the hazardous materials safety programs of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The current authorization was part of MAP-21, which expires on October 1, 2014. Our goal is to continue the advances MAP-21 made in reducing regulatory burdens, while ensuring hazardous materials are transported in a safe and efficient manner.
As you all know, the Transportation Committee is working on the reauthorization of MAP-21. I am proud that under Chairman Shuster’s leadership the Committee is looking to address a wide variety of transportation needs, including the reauthorization of hazardous materials safety programs. I look forward to the testimony and discussion today as we move forward in that process.
The movement of hazardous materials in commerce is integral to our nation’s health and economy. Hazmats include common, everyday products like paints, fuels, fertilizers, fireworks, explosives, alcohols, and batteries that are essential to such industries as farming, medicine, manufacturing, mining, water purification, and entertainment industries.
PHMSA is the agency within DOT entrusted with that mission and determines what materials are hazardous, and promulgates and enforces, among others, the regulations that set forth the packaging, marking, labeling, placarding, and other requirements for the movement of these goods. Unlike other modal administrations within the DOT, PHMSA is unique in that its regulations apply across the modes, reaching to every form of commercial goods transportation. Our role is to ensure that these goods are moved in a safe, reliable manner that helps drive our continued economic growth.
MAP-21 made several reforms and established new requirements for the transportation of hazmats, and I am looking forward to hearing about their ongoing implementation. A number of these requirements were important to developing new technologies and standards for hazmat transportation, improving the data collection analysis and reporting of the agency, and improving training for first responders and hazmat employees. MAP-21 also set new requirements and reviews of programs and processes to create more regulatory certainty, established greater transparency, and cut red tape for industry. In addition, the Act enhanced enforcement power to ensure an already safe industry was made safer.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses, including PHMSA Administrator Quarterman, Mr. Downey on behalf of the American Trucking Associations, Mr. Schick of the American Chemistry Council, Mr. Pelkey of the American Pyrotechnics Associations, and Ms. Harman with the International Association of Fire Fighters, regarding issues concerning hazmat transportation.
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