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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
4/25/2012--Reported to Senate without amendment. Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Act of 2011 [sic] - (Sec. 5) Requires states or Indian tribes receiving grants to train emergency responders to hazardous material (hazmat) transportation accidents to make certain certifications to the Secretary of Transportation (DOT).
(Sec. 6) Authorizes the Secretary to conduct pilot projects (including at least one in a rural area) to evaluate the feasibility of using paperless hazard communications systems.
(Sec. 7) Authorizes the Secretary to assess and review the methods used by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) for collecting, analyzing, and reporting accidents and incidents involving hazmat transportation. Requires the Secretary to develop an action plan and timeline for improving the collection, analysis, reporting, and use of data by PHMSA.
(Sec. 8) Directs the Secretary to prescribe regulations establishing uniform procedures among facilities for the safe loading and unloading of hazmat on and off tank cars and cargo tank trucks.
(Sec. 9) Authorizes the Secretary to develop and implement a hazmat technical assessment, research and development, and analysis program to: (1) reduce risks associated with hazmat transportation; and (2) identify and evaluate new technologies for safe, secure, and efficient hazmat transportation.
(Sec. 10) Directs the Secretary to establish a multimodal hazmat enforcement training program for government hazmat inspectors and investigators.
(Sec. 11) Requires a designated officer, employee, or agent of the Secretary to provide reasonable notice to an affected offeror, carrier, packaging manufacturer or tester, or other person responsible for the package containing hazmat of: (1) the decision to exercise inspection and investigation authority, (2) any findings made, and (3) any actions being taken as a result of a finding of noncompliance.
Requires regulations for inspections and investigations to address: (1) the safe and expeditious resumption of transportation of perishable hazardous material, including radiopharmaceuticals and other medical products, that may require timely delivery due to life-threatening situations; (2) the means by which noncompliant packages presenting an imminent hazard are placed out-of-service until the condition is corrected; (3) the means by which noncompliant packages that do not present a hazard are moved to their final destination; (4) appropriate training and equipment for inspectors; and (5) the proper closure of packaging.
(Sec. 12) Increases the civil penalties for: (1) knowing violations of a hazmat transportation regulation, order, special permit, or approval; and (2) violations that result in death, serious illness, or injury or substantial destruction of property.
Authorizes the Secretary to impose a civil penalty on persons who obstruct or prevent an inspection or investigation regarding hazmat transportation. Prohibits a person who has failed to pay an assessed civil penalty for noncompliance with a hazmat transportation regulation or order from conducting hazmat transportation.
(Sec. 14) Revises requirements for the issuance of special permits, approvals, and exclusions.
(Sec. 15) Requires states to submit certain information to the Secretary biennially regarding their currently effective hazmat highway route designations.
(Sec. 16) Authorizes appropriations to the Secretary for FY2012 and FY2013. Authorizes the Secretary to make certain expenditures from the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Fund, in particular for hazmat training grants.