Comments Due Aug 13 to Secure Exemption for all Fertilizers
For the past year, IFCA has been working with our national organizations, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and with our US Congressmen to restore the Hours of Service (HOS) exemption for the transportation of ag inputs between terminals or warehouses and retail sites.
Last year, the FMCSA instructed the industry that the exemption from HOS only applies for retail to farm and farm to farm delivery of ag supplies within a 100 mile radius. In 2006, IFCA passed state legislation that enacted the ag HOS exemption for all distribution points (including terminals and warehouses) for intrastate movements, for the entire calendar year. However, FMCSA's interpretation excludes the exemption from being used for the movement from terminals or warehouses to the retail site. This seriously jeopardizes the ability of transporters to operate legally given the heavy demand for fertilizer in the fall and spring.
After meeting with FMCSA and with members of Congress, FMCSA granted a 90 day waiver from the HOS rules for anhydrous ammonia for the spring of 2009. That waiver expired in late June. Now FMCSA has issued a proposed rule that extends the waiver for anhydrous ammonia for 2 years. However, the waiver is limited to anhydrous ammonia and could not be utilized by trucks transporting liquid or dry fertilizer from the terminals or warehouses to the retail sites.
IFCA and several IFCA members met with FMCSA on July 20th to express our concerns with the limitations of the proposed rule. FMCSA agreed to consider comments from our members making a case to extend the HOS exemption to all forms of fertilizer.
The proposed rule is posted on the IFCA homepage. There you will also find sample comments. Please download the sample comments and personalize them for your business. FMCSA is most interested in understanding the storage limitations for fertilizer at the retail sites and why "just in time" transportation is so important not only for ammonia but also for liquid and dry fertilizer.
Comments are due to FMCSA by August 13, 2010. You can send them by mail, fax them to (202) 493-2251 or submit them electronically by going to http://www.regulations.gov and following the instructions for submitting comments. Make sure you reference the Docket Number as it appears on the sample comments.
The sample comments list the key areas of concern, but please cut, edit, add and use your own words to describe how important this issue is to your business. We need to convince FMCSA to extend the HOS exemption for the transportation of fertilizer from the terminals and warehouses to the retail sites for ALL forms of fertilizer. This comment period is our best chance to accomplish this objective. Every IFCA member that transports or sells bulk fertilizer must comment on this proposed rule. There is much at stake here for our businesses and for agriculture as a whole.
Please also send a copy of your comments to your US Congressman and to Senators Durbin and Burris. IFCA has gotten great assistance on this issue from Illinois Congressman Tim Johnson, Aaron Schock, John Shimkus, Don Manzullo, Phil Hare, Jerry Costello and Debbie Halvorson. They asked IFCA to make sure that they also receive a copy of your comments so they can continue to help us on this issue. You can obtain their address on the Internet or by going to www.ifca.com, clicking on "Legislation" and then "Find Your Legislator."
If you need assistance with your comments please contact Jean Payne.