December 2014 | Vol. 2 No. 12

Welcome to the IHMM Public Sector Outreach Report!

We are proud to bring you the latest on congressional activities, grant solicitations and federal agency notifications selected specifically for Certified Hazardous Materials Managers (CHMM®), Certified Hazardous Materials Practitioners (CHMP™), Hazardous Materials Managers-in-Training (HMMT), and others working in homeland security, environmental protection, engineering, health sciences, and transportation, and public safety professionals who are interested in getting a certification.

We welcome your feedback!

 

Report Contents

  1. Job Training and Credentialing News

  2. Energy and Environment News

  3. Transportation of Hazardous Materials News

  4. IHMM Legislative Action Chart

 

1. Job Training and Credentialing News

Monster.com Exec Says Veterans Have Trouble Communicating How Military Skills Translate to the Private Sector

In honor of Veterans Day on November 13, Steve Cooker, Executive Vice President of Monster Worldwide’s Monster Government Solutions, published a Huffington Post op-ed urging the US to close the skills translation gap for veterans. Cooker notes in the article that the rate of unemployment for post 9/11 veterans remains around 6.2 percent, compared to 5.7 percent for the general population. He contends in the article that one of the biggest obstacles is translating military skills to private sector jobs.

“The devil, as usual, seems to be in the details. According to the most recent National Veterans Talent Index (VTI) Study conducted by Monster and Military.com, one of the greatest challenges veterans continue to face is effectively communicating to employers how the skills and experience gained during their military service translate in the civilian workforce. Currently, less than half of veterans report that they are able to effectively translate their military skills into a non-military setting. This is despite the fact that more than two-thirds of employers report having special talent needs that a veteran candidate would be more qualified to fill than a non-veteran candidate. So employers recognize the unique skills that veterans possess, but this inability to "translate" capabilities into actual real-world positions is preventing job placements that would benefit both companies and veterans.”

Cooker says that veteran job seekers need better tools to help them identify positions that match their skills and experience, as well as help in communicating their qualifications to recruiters. In the op-ed, Cooker notes some emerging resources that may be helpful for recruiters in identifying skilled veterans, such as USTechVets.org and JP Morgan Chase’s 100,000 Jobs Mission.

Coast Guard Proposes Operation and Training Standards for Mobile Offshore Drilling Units

On November 28, the Coast Guard issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish minimum design, operation, training, and manning standards for mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) and other vessels using dynamic positioning systems to engage in Outer Continental Shelf activities. The notice of proposed rulemaking aims to decrease the risk of a loss of position by a dynamically-positioned MODU or other vessel that could result in a fire, explosion, or subsea spill, and supports the Coast Guard's strategic goals of maritime safety and protection of natural resources. Comments are due by February 26, 2015.

FMCSA Will Conduct Entry Level Driver Training Survey for Commercial Drivers' Licenses

On November 7, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it examine, by a one-time collection of survey data, the relationship of commercial driver license (CDL) entry level driver training (ELDT), as influenced by any subsequent employer training that may have been received, to safety performance of the drivers. The results of this study, along with others, will provide FMCSA with information to support its consideration of the congressionally mandated requirement to establish enhanced minimum training requirements for CDL entry-level drivers. Recently licensed freight CDL drivers will be surveyed. (This will contain both drivers without hazardous material endorsements and drives with hazardous materials endorsements.) The goal is to obtain a better understanding of the amount and type of total training they received both before and after obtaining the CDL. FMCSA will accept comments through January 6, 2015.

 

2. Energy and Environment News

EPA Proposes Stricter Smog Regulations by 2025

On November 26, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposal aimed at curbing emissions of ozone, a smog-causing pollutant, under the authority of the Clean Air Act. The proposed regulation would lower the current threshold for ozone pollution to a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion, from 75 parts per billion. Environmental groups are advocating for 60 parts per billion. But manufacturers are criticizing the rules as government overreach, and the National Association of Manufacturers called the proposal “the most expensive regulation ever.” The EPA estimates that the regulations would cost the fossil fuels industry $3.9 billion in 2025 -when the regulation would be in full force - using a standard of 70 parts per billion. The cost would be $15 billion in 2025 at a standard of 65 parts per billion. However, the EPA estimates that the benefits of the regulation, including avoiding asthma attacks, heart attacks, missed school days and premature deaths, far outweigh the costs. According to the EPA, those benefits would amount to $6.4 billion to $13 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 70 parts per billion and $19 billion to $38 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 65 parts per billion. EPA will seek public comment on the proposal for 90 days following publication in the Federal Register*, and the agency plans to hold three public hearings. EPA will issue final ozone standards by October 1, 2015.

*This regulation was not yet published as of December 1, 2014.

State Report in Maryland Says Fracking Risks Can Be Managed With Best Practices

On November 25, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources released a draft final report stating that the risks associated with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in Maryland are manageable if best practices are followed and the state enforces compliance. In 2011, Governor Martin O'Malley had called for the agencies' to review the option of fracking, which effectively put fracking on hold in Maryland until the review was completed. Maryland’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission has until December 8 to comment on the 104-page draft final report, after which a final report and proposed regulations are expected to be released. According to a Bloomberg BNA report, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment said that there are currently no fracking permit applications for shale gas development pending.

Under the new recommendations, a shale gas developer must obtain state approval of a “Comprehensive Gas Development Plan” before applying for an individual well permit. Once approved, each individual permit application would have to include an environmental assessment, including two years of monitoring in the vicinity of the proposed well site to establish background conditions. The Interim Final Best Practices Report includes an appendix addressing several issues, including location and setback restrictions, construction and operating standards, sediment and erosion control, transportation, water withdrawal, handling of chemicals, air emissions, waste management, site closure and more. The report also recommends new legislation to update enforcement provisions, a new severance tax to support a Shale Gas Impact Fund and intensive monitoring of drilling impacts.

Supreme Court Case Could Affect Federal Rulemaking Authority

Starting on December 1, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, which stems from a longstanding rule issued by the U.S. Labor Department (DOL) that determines which employees may earn minimum wage and overtime. In 2010, the Labor Department altered its interpretation of the original rule to include mortgage loan officers, who were previously considered ineligible. In response, the American Bankers Association argued in a lower court lawsuit that the DOL failed to adhere to proper rulemaking procedures, specifically that the agency did not gather public comment before it issued its interpretation of the law. A decision by the Supreme Court in favor of the Mortgage Bankers Association would clarify the limits of rulemaking power of federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and could potentially have broad impacts on federal regulators in general. Several energy groups have weighed in via amicus briefs.

 

3. Transportation of Hazardous Materials News

FRA Issues Final Rule on Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees

On November 7, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced its final rule for establishing minimum training standards for all safety-related railroad employees, as required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The final rule requires each railroad or contractor that employs one or more safety-related railroad employee to develop and submit a training program to FRA for approval and to designate the minimum training qualifications for each occupational category of employee. The rule also requires most employers to conduct periodic oversight of their own employees and annual written reviews of their training programs to close performance gaps. The rule also contains specific training and qualification requirements for operators of roadway maintenance machines that can hoist, lower, and horizontally move a suspended load. Finally, the rule clarifies the existing training requirements for railroad and contractor employees that perform brake system inspections, tests, or maintenance. The regulation is effective January 6, 2015. Petitions for reconsideration must be received on or before December 29, 2014. Petitions for reconsideration will be posted in the docket for this proceeding. Comments on any submitted petition for reconsideration must be received on or before February 10, 2015.

Advocacy Groups Petition PHMSA to Limit Train Weight and Number of Cars Carrying Oil

On November 25, environmental and conservation groups the Center for Biological Diversity and Riverkeeper filed a petition with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) requesting rulemaking to limit the weight and number of cars allowed to be used in certain trains carrying hazardous liquids. The petition urges PHMSA to limit the number of cars for a mixed-cargo or unit train carrying hazardous liquids to 30 cars and limit the weight for these trains to 4,000 tons total. The petition notes that PHMSA acknowledges that longer, heavier trains are harder to control and are more dangerous. Crude-by-rail regulation has become a high-profile issue after a recent string of crude oil train derailments, including a July 2013 train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people. According to a Bloomberg BNA article, the Association of American Railroads countered that such regulation is costly and unnecessary, and that it would add congestion to the country’s freight and passenger railways. Bloomberg BNA also reported that a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute noted that 99.99 percent of hazardous materials shipped by rail are transported safely.

Air Force Will Revise Records System for Tracking HazMat Response

On November 19, The Department of the Air Force proposed to revise its “Civil Engineer System-Fire Department Records” system of records to better assist in protecting installation resources, equipment, and personnel that require emergency services. The new system will track fire prevention and protection, firefighting, rescue, and Hazardous Materials (HazMat) response and after action reports. Comments on the proposal are due by December 19.

FMCSA Announces Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Increase Financial Responsibility for Motor Carriers

On November 28, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it is considering a rulemaking that would increase the minimum levels of financial responsibility for motor carriers, including liability coverage for bodily injury or property damage; establish financial responsibility requirements for passenger carrier brokers; implement financial responsibility requirements for brokers and freight forwarders, and revise existing rules concerning self-insurance and trip insurance. FMCSA will take public comments on the proposal through February 26, 2015.

PHMSA Will Request Renewal on Several HazMat Transportation Regulations

On November 24, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) requested comments on certain information collections pertaining to hazardous materials transportation for which PHMSA intends to request renewal from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Specific regulations include Testing, Inspection, and Marking Requirements for Cylinders; Requirements for Rail Tank Car Tanks—Transportation of Hazardous Materials by Rail; and Testing Requirements for Non-bulk Packaging. Comments are due by January 23, 2015.

Coast Guard Delays Rule to Update List of Hazardous Materials Approved for Bulk Maritime Transportation

The Coast Guard announced November 14 that it will impose an additional two-year delay of the effective date of its 2013 interim rule, which updates and revises tables that list liquid hazardous materials, liquefied gases, and compressed gases that have been approved by the Coast Guard and the International Maritime Organization for maritime transportation in bulk. These tables also indicate how the pollution potential of each substance has been categorized. The Coast Guard received comments to its 2013 interim rule regarding technical errors in the revised tables and is working to correct those errors. The additional delay will allow the Coast Guard to complete its work to correct technical errors and solicit additional comments in a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, prior to finalizing the rule. The interim rule will now be effective January 16, 2017.

PHMSA Announces State Damage Prevention Program Grants

On November 24, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), announced a grant opportunity for eligible States (including municipalities with respect to intrastate gas pipeline transportation) to obtain funding for damage prevention program activities. Grants awarded in support of PHMSA's State Damage Prevention (SDP) grant program are intended for States to establish or improve the overall quality and effectiveness of their State Damage Prevention programs, which are designed to protect underground pipeline facilities from excavation damage. Any State authority designated by the Governor (including a municipality with respect to intrastate gas pipeline transportation) that is or will be responsible for protecting underground pipeline facilities from excavation damage is eligible as long as the State participates in the oversight of pipeline transportation pursuant to an annual 49 U.S.C. §60105 certification or 49 U.S.C. §60106 agreement in effect with PHMSA. Applications are due by January 26, 2015.

DOT/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Announces FY 2015 Commercial Drivers License Program Grant Opportunity

On November 17, The Commercial Driver's License Program Implementation Grant (CDLPI) announced a grant opportunity for financial assistance to states to achieve compliance with the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 383 and 384, and to other eligible entities for high priority or emerging issues projects as described in the grants notice. The CDLPI grant program also provides financial assistance for other entities capable of executing national projects that aid states in their compliance efforts and that will improve the national Commercial Drivers License program. Applications are due by January 6, 2015.

 

4. IHMM Legislative Action Chart

Updated December 1, 2014

Bill #

Bill Title

Sponsor(s)

Summary

Status

Notes/Other

S. 700

Troop Talent Act

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

The bill would improve the alignment of specialty skills acquired in the military with civilian certifications or licenses required for post-service employment.

Referred to Senate Committee on Armed Services. 18 Cosponsors.

H.R. 1796 is House companion legislation introduced by Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Provisions of the bill were included in the FY14 NDAA.

H.R. 1960

(See also H.R. 3304)

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)

The bill authorizes $625.1 billion in base and war funding for national defense programs of the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and other agencies for FY 2014.

Received in the Senate. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 126

The final legislation included some provisions from the Troop Talent Act concerning professional credentialing for veterans.

S. 2341

Credentialing Improvement for Troop Talent (CREDIT) Act of 2014

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

The CREDIT Act would expand the authority of the military Tuition Assistance (TA) Program to cover credentialing expenses by authorizing the use of funds to pay for licensing fees and additional expenses such as training materials and test fees.

Introduced May 15, 2014.

Builds on credentialing components of the Troop Talent Act which were incorporated into the NDAA law.

H.R. 2728

Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act

Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)

The bill would block the planned fracking regulation by the Department of the Interior (DOI).  It would recognize states’ authority to regulate hydraulic fracking by prohibiting the DOI from enforcing any Federal regulation governing the practice in a state that has its own fracking regulations.

Passed the House November 20, 2013 by a vote of 235-187. Referred to the Senate.

Obama Administration has threatened to veto bill if presented for signature.

H.R. 1965

Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

The bill would set new deadlines for issuing drilling permits and it would set a floor on the amount of land made available for oil and gas leases. The bill would also levy a $5000 fee for each protect against certain projects.

Passed the House November 20, 2013 by a vote of 228-192. Referred to the Senate.

 

Obama Administration has threatened to veto bill if presented for signature.

H.R. 3080/ S. 601

Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA)

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)/Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

The bill would authorize projects with completed Chief of Engineers reports addressing flood risk management, navigation, hurricane and storm damage risk reduction, and environmental restoration. The bill would ensure all revenues from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will be spent for port maintenance without impacting other projects.

Signed by the President on June 11, 2014.

Became Public Law No: 113-121

H.R. 1900

Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)

The bill would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve natural gas pipeline applications within one year.

Passed the House on November 21, 2013 by a vote of 252-165. Referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Obama Administration has threatened to veto bill if presented with signature.

H.R. 3614

Military Skills to Careers Act

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)

The bill would help veterans transition their skills gained in service into civilian jobs by making state licenses and credentials in chosen fields more accessible.

Introduced on November 21, 2013 and referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.  Hearing held March 25.

 

H.R. 3615

Careers for Heroes Act

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)

The bill would ensure that federal agencies are using the Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) and the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) authority to place more veterans into long-term careers.

Introduced on November 21, 2013 and referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.

 

S. 1767

Pipeline Modernization and Consumer Protection Act

Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

The bill would call for state regulatory authorities and non-regulated gas utilities to accelerate the repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of high-risk natural gas pipelines.

Introduced November 21, 2013 and referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

 

S. 1768

Pipeline Revolving Fund and Job Creation Act

Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

The bill would establish state revolving loan funds to repair or replace natural gas distribution pipelines.

Introduced November 21, 2013 and referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

 

H.R. 3568

Training Highly Skilled Americans Act of 2013

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV)

The bill would use revenues from H-1B visa applications to fund scholarships to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs at American colleges and universities that serve minority students. The bill would also allocate additional funding towards developing licensing and credentialing programs in the STEM fields.

Introduced November 20 and referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, House Committee on the Judiciary, and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

 

S. 1009

Chemical Safety Improvement Act

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sen. David Vitter (R-VA)

The bill would give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) new authority to regulate toxic chemicals.  The bill would change the existing legal structure for requiring control measures to be attached to a chemical substance, and it would define several new terms in order to help form the basis for a new regulatory standard, updating the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).

Introduced May 22. Hearings held by House Subcommittee on Energy and the Economy on November 13, 2013 and by Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife on February 4, 2014.

 

S. 1717

Servicemember Education Reform and Vocational Enhancement (SERVE) Act of 2013

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

The bill would raise minimum standards for programs that accept educational benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) in order to make them consistent with educational standards currently in place for other federal programs.

Introduced on November 14, 2013 and referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Considered to be companion legislation to the Troop Talent Act (S. 700).

H.R. 3132

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Reorganization Plan Codification and Complements Act

Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE)

The bill would disperse power from the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to all five commissioners.  The bill would also give NRC members equal access to all information within the NRC, and the power to fill vacancies.

Introduced September 18, 2013 and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

Senate companion legislation (S. 1519) was introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) on September 18. 2-13 and referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

H.R. 4606

To provide an additional authorization of appropriations for the Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Grants to be used specifically to fund programs that provide hands-on mine safety skills training and certification in mine rescue and mine emergency response.

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV)

The bill would provide an additional $4 million for mine safety, mine rescue, and mine emergency response.

Introduced May 8, 2014 and referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Referred to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

 

H.R. 2942

To amend title 38, United States Code, to reestablish the Professional Certification and Licensure Advisory Committee of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)

The bill would reestablish the Professional Certification and Licensure Advisory Committee of the Department of Veterans Affairs though December 31, 2019.

Passed the House by voice vote on May 28, 2014. Referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

 

H.R. 803

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-VA)

This bill amends the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) to revise requirements and reauthorize appropriations for: (1) WIA title I, workforce investment systems for job training and employment services; and (2) WIA title II, adult education and family literacy education programs.

Signed by president and enacted on July 22, 2014. Public Law No: 113- 128

WIOA represents a compromise between the SKILLS Act, sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

H.R. 5021

Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)

This bill will continue to fund the Interstate Highway projects including the Surface Transportation Program and the Federal-Aid Highways through May 31, 2015.

Signed by president and enacted August 8, 2014. Became Public Law No: 113-159.

House voted down Senate proposal for a 2014 due date. This bill under Subtitle D Section 1301 has hazmat training authorization authorities.

 

 S. 2784

The Rail Safety Improvement Act

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Charles Schumer (D-NY)

This bill would require all freight trains to carry at least a two-person crew, including one locomotive operator and one train conductor; It would obligate freight and passenger trains to be equipped with a range of safety technology, such as cameras, alerters and redundant signal protection. The bill would increase federal rail and track inspections, combat operator fatigue, and enhance positive train control systems.

09/10/2014 Introduced and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

 

S. 2858

Toxics by Rail Accountability and Community Knowledge (TRACK) Act

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

This bill aims to improve hazmat-by-rail safety by requiring railroad carriers transporting hazardous materials to conduct more training. The bill would increase civil penalties for violators.

09/18/2014 Introduced and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

 

H.R. 5449

Passenger Rail Reform and Reinvestment Act of 2014

Rep. Bill Shuster

The bill would cut funding for Amtrak by 40% and eliminate losses in its food and beverage services; It would also dedicate Northeast Corridor profits for reinvestment (nearly $400 million in profit in 2013).

9/17/2014 Introduced and approved by voice vote by the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials

 

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