DOT/IG Initates Audit of PHMSA?s Progress In Improving Its Special Permits and Approvals Program


In 2009 and 2010, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reported and testified on serious weaknesses in the Special Permits and Approvals Program administered by PHMSA.  The OIG reviewed how PHMSA 1) assessed applicants’ fitness or ability to comply with special permit or approval conditions; 2) evaluated applicants’ proposed safety measures; and 3) coordinated applications with other operating administrations. The audit announced today will determine the extent to which PHMSA has addressed those weaknesses. OIG states that its objective will be to assess the PHMSA’s implementation of standard operating procedures for processing special permits and approvals, focusing on fitness, safety, and coordination.  The timing of the audit is odd in that PHMSA is under statutory deadlines to finalize rules to establish fitness criteria and to incorporate proven special permits into the HMR.