Bennet, Hoeven reintroduce Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act to reform HOS and ELD regulations | TheFencePost.com

Bennet, Hoeven reintroduce Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act to reform HOS and ELD regulations

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet
D-Colo.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., reintroduced the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act, bipartisan legislation to reform the Hours of Service and Electronic Logging Device regulations at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The bill would delay enforcement of the ELD rule until the required reforms are formally proposed by the Department of Transportation secretary.

"Providing farmers and ranchers a seat at the table will lead to more sensible rules around the transportation of agricultural goods," Bennet said. "It is important that we maintain safe roads, while also recognizing the unique flexibility needed to move Colorado's agricultural products to market."

"Livestock haulers need a permanent solution to the HOS and ELD rules that provides flexibility while also ensuring road safety and the humane transportation of animals," Hoeven said. "We've worked hard to secure regulatory relief under these rules, including the 150 air-mile agriculture exemption and the flexibility the Federal Motor Carrrier Safety Administration provided for all commercial drivers last fall. Our legislation builds on these past efforts, putting the ELD rule on hold and helping ensure the DOT advances reforms that will work in the real world."

"The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act is a common-sense move that will help ease the burden of far-reaching Hours of Service and Electronic Logging Device regulations," Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Dale McCall said. "This bipartisan legislation should finally give the agricultural trucking industry some certainty after all these years. We look forward to its swift passage in the Senate, and eventually the House."

The legislation would establish a working group at DOT to identify obstacles to the safe, humane, and market-efficient transport of agricultural commodities, including livestock, and, within one year of the group's establishment, develop guidelines for regulatory or legislative action to improve the transportation of these commodities. The working group would be comprised of representatives from the transportation and agriculture industries, transportation safety representatives, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Considerations of the working group include:

• The impact, incompatibilities, and other challenges and concerns of existing HOS and ELD rules under the FMCSA on the commercial transport of livestock, insects and agricultural commodities.

• Initiatives and regulatory changes that maintain and protect highway safety and allow for the safe, efficient, and productive marketplace transport of livestock, insects and agricultural commodities.

• Other related issues the DOT secretary considers appropriate.

Within 120 days of receiving the working group's report, the DOT secretary must propose regulatory changes to the HOS and ELD regulations, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the working group.

In addition to Bennet and Hoeven, the legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont,, Michael Rounds, R-S.D., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, James Risch, R-Ind., Doug Jones, D-Ala., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Mo., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act is supported by the National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, United States Cattlemen's Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Honey Producers Association and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. ❖