Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plan (“COSRP”)—Does Your Railroad Need One?
- On April 1, 2019
The short answer is: Yes, if you move sufficient tank car volumes of crude oil, fuel oil, petroleum distillates, diesel or gasoline.
Effective August 27, 2019:
Any railroad transporting a single train of 20 or more loaded tank cars in a continuous block or 35 or more loaded tank cars of liquid petroleum oil throughout the train consist must develop a Comprehensive Oil Spill Response plan (COSRP).
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
Final Rule published 2-28-19
What Does a COSRP Require?
Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plans, or COSRP’s must address a “Worst Case Discharge” (“WCD”), defined as an incident with potential to release the larger of 300,000 gallons of liquid petroleum oil or 15% of the total amount of oil transported on the largest train consist reasonably expected to transport liquid petroleum oil in adverse weather conditions in a given response zone. Railroads must establish geographic response zones along the various rail routes involved and assure that both personnel and equipment are staged and prepared to respond in the event of an accident. The Plan must identify the qualified individual responsible for each response zone with 24-hour contact phone numbers as well as the organization, personnel, and equipment capable of removing and mitigating a worst-case discharge.
“High Hazard Flammable Trains” (“HHFTs”), defined as more than 20 continuous cars carrying Class 3 Flammable liquids or 35 cars spread throughout any one train, must share their COSRPs and related information with State Emergency Response Commissions, Tribal Emergency Response Commissions, or other appropriate State designated entities.
The definition of “petroleum oil” has not changed from the definition in 49 CFR Part 130.5 and the burden remains on the offeror of oil for transport to make that determination.
NOTE: Petroleum oil includes any solution or mixture in which oil is in a concentration by weight of greater than 10% (e.g., E85 ethanol would qualify) and requires a COSRP if sufficient numbers of cars are in a train.
CORSP plans will be approved by PHMSA (not the FRA). Railroads may submit plans that meet State requirements under certain circumstances but all plans require a 12-hour response time in all areas. A railroad must also certify in its plan that it has conducted training and that the plan includes requirements for equipment testing and exercises, with recordkeeping required for both. Plans must be updated and re-submitted every 5 years or within 90 days of implementing any significant changes or new routes.