NPGA provides industry update on regulatory issues

April 24, 2017 By    

NPGA’s Mike Caldarera presented updates on key regulations that affect the propane industry. Photo by Megan Smalley

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) hosted a fast-track session at the Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo to discuss the impacts both new and anticipated federal regulations will have on the industry.

Mike Caldarera, vice president of regulatory and technical services at NPGA, discussed regulatory issues such as cylinder requalification, crane operator training, entry-level driver training and electronic logging devices.

Cylinder requalification: The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) accepted NPGA’s petition to change a recent rulemaking and return the cylinder requalification period from 10 years to 12 years for DOT-specification cylinders. According to Caldarera, PHMSA stayed the 10-year enforcement and will issue a new rulemaking after accepting NPGA’s petition to change the language of the regulation.

“We will continue to work with them to make sure this rulemaking comes to be,” Caldarera says. “We already have information on these changes on our website, and so does PHMSA. We are happy with that outcome.”

Crane operator training: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard requires third-party certification for companies to operate a crane in construction settings. OSHA extended the compliance date from November 2014 to November 2017 after pushback from the public on the standard’s wording and to allow for provisions.

“The intent of doing that was to come out with a new rulemaking to address the certification and new provisions to deal with that,” Caldarera says. “At the time, they said three years should be sufficient to get that done. But here we are six months until the new compliance date and they have yet to publish a rule.”

NPGA plans to discuss a compliance date extension during Propane Days in June.

Entry-level driver training: DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a rule that establishes comprehensive national minimum training standards for entry-level commercial truck and bus operators seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or certain endorsements. The new rule requires CDL applicants to meet theory or knowledge criteria and behind-the-wheel training before applying for a CDL with a state. The entry-level driver training rule took effect in February, with a compliance date of February 2020.

“These provisions are onerous enough that we’ve heard member concerns,” Caldarera says. “When you look overall in the trucking industries, there is a shortage of drivers. Anything agencies do to increase the impediment of getting new drivers in will be a problem.”

NPGA plans to connect with FMCSA to discuss the cost and burden on the propane industry and provide data from motor carriers. NPGA will also lobby against the issue during Propane Days.

Electronic logging devices: FMCSA released a final rule requiring electronic logging devices in commercial motor vehicles that are currently required to prepare hours-of-service records of duty status reports. Caldarera reminded attendees that motor carriers must comply with the requirement by Dec. 18, 2017.

About the Author:

Megan Smalley was an associate editor at LP Gas magazine.

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