New bill seeks to ease diesel transport rule

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2013- Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., today introduced legislation (S. 485) that would eliminate a regulation requiring agriculture industry professionals to obtain a hazardous material endorsement before transporting diesel fuel.

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 commercial driver's license (CDL).
“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 our economy,” Roberts said.

The legislation would exempt 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. Under the bill, exempted parties would include all custom harvesters, agriculture retailers, agriculture business employees, agriculture cooperative employees, or agriculture producers who hold a Class A CDL.

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“I am happy to have an opportunity to address an area of over-regulation that particularly impacts our farmers in North Dakota and throughout the country,” Heitkamp said. “This legislation will remove an unnecessary and costly requirement for custom harvesters and agribusinesses, saving money and time in the rural economy.”

Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, introduced companion legislation (H.R. 1026) in the House.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., are original co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate.

“This bill is a common sense update that reflects the needs of modern agriculture,” Neugebauer said. “It simply broadens an existing exemption to federal laws so that producers can safely transport up to 1,000 gallons of fuel for their combines, harvesters, and other large equipment.” 

The bill is also endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Kansas-based U.S. Custom Harvesters Industry, the Kansas Coop Council, the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the US Canola Association, National Sunflower Association, US Dry Pea & Lentils, National Barley Growers Association, the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Agri-business Retailers Association.


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