New anti-terrorism law amends haz mat regulations

| 11/5/2001

The new federal anti-terrorism law known as The USA PATRIOT Act was signed last week by President Bush. PATRIOT is the acronym for "providing appropriate tools required to intercept and obtruct terrorism.

The new federal anti-terrorism law amends the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act with a provision that prevents states from issuing (or renewing) a hazmat CDL unless the USDOT has first determined that the applicant does not pose a security risk warranting denial of the license.

The provision in the new law also requires the Department of Justice to perform a background records check on anyone requesting a license (or renewal) to transport hazardous materials. The background check is described in the law as "a check of the relevant criminal history data bases; in the case of an alien, a check of the relevant data bases to determiine the status of the alien under the immigration laws of the U.S.; as appropriate, a check of the relevant international data bases through Interpol-U.S. National Central Bureau or other appropriate means."

While the law is effective immediately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Assistant administrator Julie Anna Cirillo advised state agencies by letter that "Section 1012" of the Patriot Act cannot be implemented without rulemaking by DOT. Cirillo has directed state licensing agencies to stick with the status quo until regulations are in place.

"We will be consulting with the states and other parties in the development of the regulations to implement this new provision," Cirillo's letter said.
--Sandi Soendker