Sens. Roberts, Heitkamp and Moran Introduce Bill Providing Ag Industry Relief from Transportation Regulation
Mar 04 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today introduced bi-partisan and bi-cameral legislation eliminating a burdensome regulation that requires agriculture industry professionals to obtain a hazardous material endorsement before transporting diesel fuel critical for a number of agricultural operations.
“Our farmers and ranchers work tirelessly to provide the world with the most abundant and safest food supply in the world. The least we can do is remove frivolous government red tape that makes their efforts more onerous.” Roberts said. “Requiring our producers to treat a truck transporting large amounts of diesel fuel in a similar fashion to hauling radioactive material is patently absurd and is simply another example of the federal government’s overly burdensome regulations stifling the rural economy.”
“Our farmers in North Dakota and across the country produce the crops that feed the nation, and they should be able to carry out basic functions of their jobs—like transporting their combines—without unnecessary government regulation,” said Heitkamp. “We can do that by lifting undue burdens that cost our farmers and agriculture workers time and money, making it difficult for them to do their jobs each day. That’s why this bipartisan, commonsense legislation would make sure our federal regulators differentiate between farmers and harvesters doing a day’s work in field operations, and a semi-truck hauling crude oil. As a result, our agricultural workers would be able to operate efficiently and have the fuel necessary to harvest their crops.”
“As I travel across Kansas visiting with farmers and ranchers, regulatory overreach by the federal government is often cited as the greatest threat to our agriculture producers,” Sen. Moran said. “Those who work in the agriculture industry shouldn’t be forced to jump through hoops just to haul the necessary quantities of diesel required to fuel their operations. This common sense legislation would eliminate a burdensome regulation that adds unnecessary costs for farmers and ranchers and harms rural Kansas.”
The Senators’ legislation exempts agribusiness participants from the requirement to obtain a hazardous material endorsement, while operating a service vehicle carrying diesel fuel in quantities of 1,000 gallons or less, if the tank containing diesel fuel is clearly marked.
Exempted parties include all custom harvesters, agriculture retailers, agriculture business employees, agriculture cooperative employees, or agriculture producers who hold a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and Congressman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) are introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The bill is also endorsed by the Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference, American Retailers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Calmer Corn Heads, the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, the Kanas Cooperative Council, the Kansas Corn Growers Association, the Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Kansas Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barely Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, National Sunflower Association, SD Wheat Incorporated, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., U.S. Dry Bean Council, and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council.
Under current regulations, any driver transporting more than 119 gallons of diesel fuel is required to obtain a Hazardous Materials endorsement on their Class A CDL.