Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., introduced a bill that would exempt those who transport agricultural products from a costly regulation that stifles their ability to quickly and effectively carry out business.
"Eliminating this endorsement is a common sense way to provide more flexibility for these industries that are already weighed down with too many needless regulations," said Roberts. "This is just another example of an overly burdensome regulation that needs to be eliminated, and I will continue my fight to review and repeal other oppressive regulations that negatively affect agriculture and our economy."
The bill will exempt all class A commercial driver's license holders who are custom harvesters, agriculture retailers, agriculture business employees, agriculture cooperative employees, or agriculture producers from the requirement to obtain a hazardous material endorsement under part 383 of title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 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 with a placard reading, "Diesel Fuel."
Senators Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., are original co-sponsors of the bill. The bill is also endorsed by the Kansas based U.S. Custom Harvesters Industry, the Kansas Coop Association, the Kansas Feed and Grain Association, and the Kansas Agri-business Retailers Association support this legislation.
"Regulatory burdens placed on the agriculture industry seem to be ever growing," said Dave Studebaker, Board Chairman of the Kansas Cooperative Council. "Transportation is a critical element of our day-to-day operations and is heavily regulated. The bill is an example of efforts to interject reasonableness and practicality into the regulatory process, which our members greatly appreciate."
"The Class A CDL Haz Mat Exemption has been a long time coming for the custom harvesting industry, 19 years, in fact, since we first started working on a change in the rules," said Tracy Zeorian, president of U.S. Custom Harvesters. "The custom harvester provides a service for the American farmer by harvesting the crops that feed the world. The passing of this bill will enable the custom harvester to do their job in a more safe and more efficient manner. Allowing our industry to haul up to 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel with the Class A CDL Haz Mat Exemption will make the daily process of keeping the combines and forage harvesters moving in the fields rather than sitting idle. On behalf of U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., I'd like to thank Senator Roberts for understanding just how important this issue is to our industry and pushing it forward. I'd also like to thank Senator Moran, Senator Ben Nelson, and Senator Johanns for their support, as well."
Under current regulations, any driver transporting more than 119 gallons of hazardous material, including diesel fuel, is required to obtain a Hazardous Materials endorsement on their Class A Commercial Driver's License CDL.