Friday, November 27, 2015

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CRAPO, RISCH JOIN BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO INCREASE FLEXIBILITY FOR DAIRY SECTOR

WASHINGTON–Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch today joined a bipartisan group of senators calling for increased weight limit flexibility in the transportation and delivery of milk as part of a final Surface Transportation Bill.  In a letter to Senate negotiators, Crapo and Risch request the final bill include a provision recognizing food safety and time-sensitive considerations for trucks hauling milk.  

Negotiators are working to merge individual House and Senate measures into one final Surface Transportation Bill.  The bill passed by the House includes language that would designate fluid milk products as a non-divisible load for the purposes of federal truck weight regulations.  A non-divisible load is defined as cargo that cannot be easily dismantled or divided due to the risk of ruining the value of the load.  Current law sets federal truck weight limits at 80,000 pounds but includes a provision that allows states the option to issue overweight permits for non-divisible loads.  

Treating milk as non-divisible is important because truck weight limits currently vary between states and can create logistical challenges when milk is transported across state lines.  Once milk is loaded onto a truck, it is subject to stringent food safety regulations that require the container to be sealed and transported immediately.  Transportation disruptions resulting from varying truck weight limits could run afoul of these food safety guidelines and spoil the load, thereby destroying the value of the milk.

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