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Audit Initiated of PHMSA’s Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Fund and Grant Program Oversight

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Over 3.3 billion tons of hazardous materials (hazmat) are transported annually across the United States. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is responsible for advancing the safe transportation of these materials and administers several hazmat safety-related grants to support this mission. To fund these grants, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) authorized PHMSA to expend over $46 million annually from hazmat shipper and carrier registration fees collected under the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) Fund. Because statutes passed in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 set maximum obligations amounts for HMEP grants, PHMSA awarded HMEP grants totaling approximately $29.8 million and $28 million in each year respectively. We are initiating this audit due to the visibility of recent hazmat-related safety incidents and IIJA’s significant increase in hazmat grant authorizations. Our audit objective will be to evaluate PHMSA’s collection and monitoring of hazmat registration fees, and the Agency’s tracking and reporting of grantees’ use of funds for the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grant Program.