Authority of NTSB in Railroad, Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials Investigations

CourtNational Transportation Safety Board
Citation88 FR 60164
Published date31 August 2023
Record Number2023-18840
Federal Register / Vol. 88, No. 168 / Thursday, August 31, 2023 / Proposed Rules
(13) Historically Black Colleges and
Universities, Tribal Colleges and
Universities, and Minority-serving
institutions (institutions of higher
education eligible to receive Federal
assistance under title III, parts A and F,
and title V of the HEA).
(14) Federal Family Education Loan
(FFEL) lenders, servicers, or guaranty
The Department is particularly
interested in ensuring the primary and
alternate negotiators who represent the
different borrower and student
constituencies reflect a variety of
experiences with student loans and
postsecondary education, including
attending different types of institutions,
for different types of programs
borrowing a Parent PLUS loan to pay for
a dependent student’s education,
borrowing either Direct or FFEL loans,
and receiving a Pell grant. We also seek
negotiators who have borrowed varied
amounts and have varied repayment
histories. We encourage nominations
that provide the Department with
diverse information about borrowing
and repayment experiences.
The goal of the committee is to
develop proposed regulations that
reflect a final consensus of the
committee. Consensus means that there
is no dissent by any member of a
negotiating committee, including the
committee member representing the
A negotiator is expected to represent
the interests of their constituency and to
participate in the negotiations in a
manner consistent with the goal of
developing proposed regulations on
which the committee will reach
consensus. If consensus is reached, all
members of the organization or group
represented by a negotiator are bound
by the consensus and are prohibited
from commenting negatively on the
resulting proposed regulations. The
Department will not consider any such
negative comments on the proposed
regulations that are submitted by a
member of such an organization.
We request that nominations include
the information described in this
(1) The name of the nominee;
(2) The name of the constituency (or
constituencies) for which the nominee
is being nominated (see Constituencies
for Negotiator Nominations);
(3) The nominee’s place of
employment or institution at which they
are or were enrolled and, if different, the
organization the nominee represents;
(4) A resume or evidence of the
nominee’s expertise and experience in
the topics proposed for negotiations;
(5) The nominee’s contact
information, including email address,
telephone number, and mailing address.
Please see the
section for
submission information. We will
confirm receipt of nominations to the
submitter. The Department will provide
additional information to those we
select to serve as negotiators. Once
complete, a list of negotiators will be
posted here:
l. The Department will also provide
information at that site about how any
committee vacancies can be filled at the
beginning of the first committee
Schedule for Negotiations
The Committee will meet for three
sessions on the following dates:
Session 1: October 10–11, 2023.
Session 2: November 6–7, 2023.
Session 3: December 11–12, 2023.
Session times will be from 10 a.m. to
12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m., with a public
comment period from approximately
3:30 to 4 p.m., Eastern time.
All sessions will be conducted
virtually and available for the public to
view. Individuals who wish to observe
the committee meetings will be required
to register for each session they would
like to observe. We will post registration
links closer to the start of negotiations
on our website at
index.html. The Department will also
post recordings and transcripts of the
meetings on that site.
At the end of each day (except for the
final day of the final session), the
Department will reserve 30 minutes for
public comment. We will provide
information on how to request time to
speak on our website at
Accessible Format: On request to the
program contact person listed under
individuals with disabilities can obtain
this document in an accessible format.
The Department will provide the
requestor with an accessible format that
may include Rich Text Format (RTF) or
text format (txt), a thumb drive, an MP3
file, braille, large print, audiotape, or
compact disc, or other accessible format.
Electronic Access to this Document:
The official version of this document is
the document published in the Federal
Register. You may access the official
edition of the Federal Register and the
Code of Federal Regulations at At this site you can
view this document, as well as all other
documents of this Department
published in the Federal Register, in
text or Portable Document Format
(PDF). To use PDF, you must have
Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is
available free at the site. You may also
access the documents of the Department
published in the Federal Register by
using the article search feature at Specifically,
through the advanced search feature at
this site, you can limit your search to
documents published by the
Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1098a.
Nasser H. Paydar,
Assistant Secretary, Office of Postsecondary
[FR Doc. 2023–18853 Filed 8–30–23; 8:45 am]
49 CFR Part 831
[Docket No.: NTSB–2023–0007]
RIN 3147–AA28
Authority of NTSB in Railroad,
Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials
: National Transportation Safety
Board (NTSB).
: Advance notice of proposed
rulemaking (ANPRM).
: The National Transportation
Safety Board (NTSB) is publishing this
advance notice of proposed rulemaking
(ANPRM) to seek public feedback on
whether it should define the term
‘‘substantial property damage’’ as it
relates to the agency’s authority to
investigate railroad accidents. Neither
the agency’s statute nor the regulation
currently defines this term, thus, the
NTSB seeks comments on whether
defining ‘‘substantial property damage’’
would better clarify the scope of
regulatory coverage for its railroad
investigations. The issues raised in the
comments submitted in response to this
ANPRM will inform whether and how
the NTSB will define this term in its
: Send comments on or before
October 30, 2023.
: You may send comments,
identified by Docket Number (No.)
NTSB–2023–0007, by any of the
following methods:
Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:
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Federal Register / Vol. 88, No. 168 / Thursday, August 31, 2023 / Proposed Rules
The FRA’s Monetary Threshold Notice is
available at:
Fax: 202–314–6090.
Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: NTSB,
Office of General Counsel, 490 L’Enfant
Plaza East SW, Washington, DC 20594.
Instructions: All submissions in
response to this ANPRM must include
Docket No. NTSB–2023–0007. All
comments received will be posted
without change to https://, including any
personal information provided.
Docket: For access to the docket, go to and search
Docket No. NTSB–2023–0007.
William Thomas (Tom) McMurry, Jr.,
General Counsel, (202) 314–6080,
: In
accordance with the Independent Safety
Board Act of 1974, as amended, the
NTSB is required to ‘‘investigate or have
investigated (in detail the Board
prescribes) and establish the facts,
circumstances, and cause or probable
cause of . . . a railroad accident in
which there is a fatality or substantial
property damage, or that involves a
passenger train.’’ 49 U.S.C.
1131(a)(1)(C). The NTSB’s regulations
found at 49 CFR 831.40(a)(1) further
explain that the NTSB has the authority
to investigate ‘‘railroad accidents,
collisions, crashes, derailments,
explosions, incidents, and releases in
which involve a fatality, substantial
property damage, or a passenger train.’’
Section 840.2 defines railroad as ‘‘any
system of surface transportation of
persons or property over rails. It
includes, but is not limited to, line-haul
freight and passenger-carrying railroads,
and rapid transit, commuter, scenic,
subway, and elevated railways.’’
Notably, the agency’s regulation has
neither a definition nor a monetary
threshold for the term ‘‘substantial
property damage’’ as reflected in
§ 831.40(a)(1). The NTSB believes that
defining this term will clarify the types
of railroad accidents the NTSB will
investigate. Thus, the NTSB is soliciting
comments on the promulgation of a
regulatory definition of ‘‘substantial
property damage’’ particular to railroad
To define ‘‘substantial property
damage,’’ the NTSB has considered
regulatory thresholds utilized by the
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
and the Federal Transit Administration
(FTA) at the United States Department
of Transportation (DOT). The FRA
‘‘[e]nables the safe, reliable, and
efficient movement of people and goods
along the Nation’s railroads.’’
has a monetary threshold for reporting
rail equipment accidents/incidents of
$11,300 for calendar year (CY) 2022.
The NTSB is disinclined to align itself
with FRA’s threshold as the NTSB
believes that $11,300 is too low of a
value. However, if the NTSB does
promulgate a rule establishing a
monetary value for ‘‘substantial
property damage,’’ the NTSB may
consider periodically adjusting for
inflation the monetary threshold as the
FRA recently did for CY 2022. See 85
FR 79130 (Dec. 9, 2020).
By contrast, the FTA, which
‘‘[p]rovides financial and technical
assistance to local public transit
systems, including buses, subways, light
rail, commuter rail, trolleys and
does not have a monetary
value for reporting major events, but
bases reporting requirements on
whether there is ‘‘substantial damage’’
as defined by FTA.
The FTA defines
‘‘substantial damage’’ as ‘‘[d]amage to
transit or non-transit property including
vehicles, facilities, equipment, rolling
stock, or infrastructure that disrupts the
operations of the rail transit agency and
adversely affects the structural strength,
performance, or operating
characteristics of the of the property,
requiring towing, rescue, on-site
maintenance, or immediate removal
prior to safe operation.’’
excluded from this definition is damage
that is limited to: cracked windows;
dents, bends, or small puncture holes in
the body; broken lights or mirrors; or
removal from service under the
vehicle’s own power for minor repair or
maintenance, testing, or video and event
recorder download.
The NTSB does have a reporting
threshold notification requirement
contained in 49 CFR 840.3(b), which
requires reporting of accidents with
$150,000 damage or more to railroad
and nonrailroad property; or $25,000 or
more for a passenger train, and railroad
and nonrailroad property. The NTSB is
considering these monetary values to
establish the threshold for ‘‘substantial
property damage.’’ However, with the
different threshold reporting
requirements for freight and passenger
trains, the NTSB is considering whether
the same distinctions should apply to
‘‘substantial property damage.’’
Further, the NTSB is considering
whether its proposed definition of
‘‘substantial property damage’’ should
contain a distinction between public
railroads and private railroads reporting
thresholds. The Board acknowledges,
however, that if the NTSB were to
define ‘‘substantial property damage’’
differently between public and private
railroads, doing so may give rise to a
question regarding which definition of
‘‘substantial property damage’’ applies if
there were an accident involving both a
public and private railroad.
Accordingly, the public is asked to
address any or all of the following
1. Should the NTSB define
‘‘substantial property damage’’?
2. If not, why not?
3. If so, how should the NTSB define
‘‘substantial property damage’’?
4. If ‘‘substantial property damage’’ is
defined using a specific dollar amount,
what would be a reasonable monetary
5. How should the NTSB calculate the
threshold value of ‘‘substantial property
6. Should the dollar amount
established be indexed for inflation?
7. Should the property damage value
be consistent with the reporting
threshold established by the FRA? Why
or why not?
8. Should the property damage value
be consistent with the reporting
threshold established by the NTSB?
Why or why not?
9. Should ‘‘substantial property
damage’’ be based on total property
damage, railroad property damage, or
non-railroad property damage?
10. Should ‘‘substantial property
damage’’ consider factors other than
monetary value?
11. Should there be a distinction in
threshold reporting requirements
between public railroads and private
12. And which definition should
apply to an accident involving both a
public railroad and private railroad?
13. The NTSB has different threshold
reporting requirements for freight and
passenger trains. Should the definition
of ‘‘substantial property damage’’
contain a similar distinction?
List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 831
Aircraft accidents, Aircraft incidents,
Aviation safety, Hazardous materials
transportation, Highway safety,
Investigations, Marine safety, Pipeline
safety, Railroad safety.
William T. McMurry, Jr.,
General Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2023–18840 Filed 8–30–23; 8:45 am]
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