Mar 13 2018
Heitkamp Urges U.S. Department of Transportation to Address Serious Concerns with New ELD Regulations
Senator Cites Concerns of Livestock and Perishable Produce Transporters, Ranchers, and Recreational Rodeo Enthusiasts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today urged U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao to immediately address several serious concerns about the new electronic logging device (ELD) rules being implemented this year.
“Livestock and produce haulers, farmers, and rodeo enthusiasts are rightfully worried about the new ELD rules, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has not done enough to clarify who will be exempted,” Heitkamp said. “A one-size-fits-all approach to regulations simply doesn’t work in rural America, and this rule clearly lacked input from those who stand to be impacted the most. I fought to delay these ELD rules, and now the DOT must take into account the concerns of North Dakotans to properly modify and clarify the rules so folks out on the road know if they are in compliance with the law.”
Heitkamp has heard from transporters of livestock, honeybees, and perishable produce that the new ELD rules could put their cargo at risk, threatening the economic security of farmers and transporters alike.
“In North Dakota, ranchers and recreational rodeo enthusiasts alike depend on our nation’s highways to move livestock to market and participate in rodeos across the region,” Heitkamp wrote in her letter to Secretary Chao. “As this rule has been implemented though, I have grown concerned about the lack of input agricultural and rural stakeholder groups have been able to provide during the rulemaking process, which has created considerable uncertainty in the application of the rule to these agricultural and recreational uses.”
Click here to read Heitkamp’s letter to Secretary Chao.
In December, Heitkamp led a bipartisan effort to delay implementation of the new ELD regulations, joining U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and others supporting 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 Administration (FMCSA) time to make the necessary adjustments to hours of service rules.
Heitkamp has been fighting for livestock and honey bee producers, especially as they continue to face the effects of a severe drought. Last month, Heitkamp’s plan to remove the funding cap for the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to producers of livestock and honeybees for losses due to weather events and disease, was signed in to law.
Heitkamp has introduced legislation to expand assistance available to livestock and honey bee producers as they recover from drought. Last August, Heitkamp conducted a two-day drought and Farm Bill tour across western North Dakota to hear directly from farmers, ranchers, researchers, and FSA workers about the solutions they need now to weather the drought, and the critical programs that need to be protected and strengthened in the 2018 Farm Bill. The tour built on a listening session Heitkamp convened in July with ranchers, local leaders, and experts on the ground in Bowman to talk about solutions to address challenges they currently face related to the drought, and discuss how to best prepare down the road.