Report: DOT Waives Rules for Hazmat Shippers

"Members of Congress Thursday demanded a shake up at the agency that regulates the transport of hazardous materials, saying officials for years have quietly waived safety rules because of a cozy relationship with industry.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration -- which regulates more than 1 million daily shipments of potentially dangerous cargo by land, sea and air -- has routinely granted or renewed waivers of rules without attempting to find out whether shippers had been involved in accidents or were cited for violations, according to investigations by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Transportation Department's inspector general.

The agency's 'culture appears plagued by a belief that it should make things as easy as possible for the industry that it should be regulating,' Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., the committee's chairman, said at a hearing.

Joan Lowy reports for the Associated Press September 10, 2009.

Source: AP, 09/11/2009