Cows Moo and Pigs Squeal and Regulators Regulate Print Share

There’s a saying in Washington that “cows moo, pigs squeal, regulators regulate.”  Over the last two years, we’ve seen just how true that is.  I’ve been riding herd on the EPA to keep the agency from placing further economic pressure on rural America as it considers, for example, placing more stringent regulations on dust.
In yet another sign of the disconnect between Washington bureaucrats and rural America, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, an agency in the Department of Transportation, is in the midst of a comment period for new regulations that could, if enacted, cause significant burdens on farmers as they transport their farm commodities.  
For instance, one of the proposed regulations would put additional restrictions on a farmer’s ability to move his or her farm equipment by requiring special licenses, permits and registrations.  In addition, if a farmer’s grain is sold across state lines or overseas, the farmer would be required to obtain a special license to transport the grain from the field to the local elevator or to another site.  And last, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration would interpret the transportation of commodities that are part of a crop-share agreement as for-hire transportation.  
It’s regulations like these that highlight the difficulty of keeping informed the people who are making serious economic decisions for a particular area where they have little to no expertise in how their actions would impact real life situations.  
Producers and organizations need adequate time to understand and comment on these regulations.  The potential for these regulations to have a far-reaching impact is quite real, and everybody should have a chance to weigh in.  So, I joined 17 other senators to request that the comment period be extended.  In our letter, we reminded the administration that “the availability of high quality, nutritious food, that is delivered in a safe and efficient way is worthy of unique and thoughtful consideration.”
Our request for an extended comment period was granted, and people who are interested in having their voices heard have until August 1, 2011, to make comment.  Those comments can be made by clicking here.
July 15, 2011