Members in both the House and Senate proposed a bill eliminating a burdensome regulation that requires agriculture industry professionals to obtain a hazardous material endorsement before transporting sufficient amounts of diesel fuel necessary for a number of agricultural operations. The bipartisan bill will make it easier for farmers, customer harvesters and ag producers to safely transport the fuel they need for a day of field work. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R., Texas) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) introduced H.R. 1026 in the House and Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
Currently, Class A commercial drivers can only haul up to 118 gallons of fuel unless they have a hazardous materials endorsement, which is costly and time-consuming to obtain. There is already an exemption to these requirements for Class B commercial drivers. The bill simply broadens that exemption to Class A drivers, who are more stringently tested.
The 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).
The bill enjoys widespread support from organizations including the Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Assn., Association of Equipment Manufacturers, National Assn. of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Assn., National Sorghum Producers, and U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.