Feds grant regional waivers to propane haulers

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Monday, January 20, 2014

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has responded to the combination of a cold winter and a propane shortage with regional waivers. FMCSA is declaring states of emergency in the Midwest and Eastern regions. That means truckers hauling propane and other heating fuels in almost half the country are exempt from certain regulations including hours of service.

The Midwest state of emergency covers Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The Eastern state of emergency covers Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia.

Both declarations, issued Sunday, Jan. 19, say the same thing.

“This declaration provides for the regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicles operations while providing direct assistance supporting the delivery of propane and home heating fuels into the affected areas and consumers in the above mentioned states during the emergency. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not directly supporting the emergency relief effort.”

Fuel haulers in the affected regions must have a copy of the declaration in their trucks. They must also note “Emergency Declaration” in the remarks section of their record-of-duty status (RODS) and must comply with other regulations.

Both declarations remain in effect until 11:59 p.m., Feb. 11, 2014, or until there is no longer a propane shortage, whichever comes first.

Kentucky, South Dakota and Oklahoma have separate declarations for propane haulers. Kentucky’s is effective through Jan. 28; South Dakota’s is in effect until Feb. 8; and Oklahoma’s is in effect through Feb. 5.

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