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Senators lead bipartisan call for delayed implementation of ELDs for livestock transporters

U.S. Senators Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, led a bipartisan group of colleagues Dec. 5 in calling for delayed implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) for commercial motor vehicles transporting livestock or insects.

The senators’ letter to Senate leadership supports a provision in the U.S. House-passed Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill delaying implementation of ELDs and providing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) time to make the necessary adjustments to hours of service rules to address animal welfare concerns.

“Livestock production is a key contributor to the economies of our states, and jobs in rural communities depend on the ability to transport livestock across large expanses of the country,” the senators wrote. “For example, it is common for cattle in Western and Southeastern states to be purchased by producers and feedlots in the Midwest and Great Plains. These animals must be transported hundreds and even thousands of miles to their final destinations in a safe and humane manner.

“Long distance transportation is often the most stressful event in a livestock animal’s life and it is impractical and inhumane to stop, offload multiples times, or significantly delay delivery of these animals…. Livestock haulers are charged with the challenging task of ensuring motorist safety while protecting the welfare of the animals being transported. While some commercial operators without live cargo may have the ability to more easily transition from paper logbooks to ELDs, the pending mandate will have negative consequences on livestock haulers and hinder the ability of this unique subset of the industry to humanely deliver healthy livestock.”

The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.).

Full text of the letter is below and available here or see below.

December 5, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
Democratic Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Democratic Leader Schumer:

We write to express our support for the provision in the House-passed Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill to delay implementation of electronic logging devices (ELD) for commercial motor vehicles transporting livestock or insects. The delay will give the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) time to make necessary adjustments to hours of service rules to address animal welfare concerns.

Livestock production is a key contributor to the economies of our states, and jobs in rural communities depend on the ability to transport livestock across large expanses of the country. For example, it is common for cattle in Western and Southeastern states to be purchased by producers and feedlots in the Midwest and Great Plains. These animals must be transported hundreds and even thousands of miles to their final destinations in a safe and humane manner. Long distance transportation is often the most stressful event in a livestock animal’s life and it is impractical and inhumane to stop, offload multiples times, or significantly delay delivery of these animals. This issue is even more prevalent in areas where extreme weather can cause severe traffic delays that limit the time it can take to transport these animals to their destination.

On November 20th, the FMCSA announced a 90-day waiver from compliance for vehicles transporting agricultural commodities to consider a petition submitted by the industry and to provide additional guidance on the 150-air mile radius agricultural exemption. The announcement indicates a recognition by FMCSA of the challenges faced by livestock haulers in meeting the mandate, but it does not provide any assurances of relief beyond the 90-day period. Thus, we believe it is necessary to include Sec. 132 of the House THUD bill in the final FY2018 appropriations bill to further delay compliance and allow sufficient time to address the concerns.

Livestock haulers are charged with the challenging task of ensuring motorist safety while protecting the welfare of the animals being transported. While some commercial operators without live cargo may have the ability to more easily transition from paper logbooks to ELDs, the pending mandate will have negative consequences on livestock haulers and hinder the ability of this unique subset of the industry to humanely deliver healthy livestock.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Source: www.moran.senate.gov

Dec 08, 2017 General Discussion, Issues & Policy