Administration Reproposes User Fees for Special Permits and Approvals
Today, the Administration released its FY 2015 Budget Request. For the fourth year in a row, the request includes user fees for special permits and approvals. The fees range from $700 to $3,000 per application with a goal to collect $12 million in FY 2015. IME does not believe that user fees are an appropriate way to fund a safety program. In the explosives industry, the fee would operate like a tax. Regulations require that all explosives be classified by DOT. The classification is granted by approval. Explosives manufacturers have no option not to seek approvals. While DOT projects that it needs the fees to cover costs of the program, in fact, the program workload should be falling. In 2012, Congress enacted law requiring DOT to incorporate long-standing proven special permits into the Hazardous Materials Regulations and to initiate rulemaking to justify costly procedures that were implemented without public comment to determine the “fitness” of special permit and approval applicants. The Federal Government, the largest holder of special permits and approvals, would not have to pay these fees. IME contends that DOT does not have the authority to impose the fees without legislative authority from Congress. IME will vigorously oppose this fee proposal.