#LettertoAgencies #Overtime #Transportation
On Aug. 3, ARA responded to OSHA regarding the reinterpretation of the retailer exemption.#PSM #labor
The Agricultural Retailers Association and 27 other agricultural organizations sent a letter to the House of Representatives today stating their objectives in the transportation funding process, which has become a political football most recently punted at the end of July. In the letter, the groups “strongly urge passage of multi-year surface transportation legislation” that would “provide adequate funding and greater certainty” for infrastructure projects currently in limbo. Highway funding has received short-term extensions more than 30 times on Capitol Hill, and critics point to the uncertainty as a contributing factor to the present state of America's infrastructure.#LettertoCongress #Transportation
ARA joined with a coalition of organizations to provide comments on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed rule on rail tank car standards and operating practices.
PHMSA’s proposed rule would establish new standards and operating controls for trains and tank cars transporting Class 3 flammable liquids, such as crude oil, petroleum and ethanol.#RetailerFacts #PHMSA #Transportation #Security #DOT #LettertoAgencies
ARA and a number of other national trade organizations have submitted a letter to the EPA requesting the agency utilize an existing federal advisory committee and reactivate the Accident Prevention Subcommittee to provide the Office of Emergency Management with industry stakeholder advice and counsel on scientific and technical aspects of the Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 112(r): Accidental Release Prevention/Risk Management Program (RMP) Regulations.#RetailerFacts #Environment #LettertoAgencies #RMP
The Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) was established by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 to provide workplace protections for agricultural workers and pesticide handlers to prevent or reduce occupational pesticide exposure, incidents and illnesses. The EPA has proposed new rules to further reduce potential exposure.
"While ARA agrees some targeted portions of the WPS regulations should be reviewed and updated," the organization stated in comments submitted last week. "We have serious concerns regarding the adverse economic impact this proposal will have on agribusinesses and disagree that major changes are needed to the WPS regulations."
Following direction from the policy committee, ARA provided commentary and objections on several sections of the proposed rules, including the EPA's definitions, employee and employer duties, information requirements, training requirements, entry restrictions, notifications, decontamination protocol, labeling, personal protective equipment, exemptions and more.
"ARA believes there are many issues with the current WPS proposal and recommend the EPA withdraw it from consideration," said Richard Gupton, Sr. Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel. "ARA recommends EPA develop an industry stakeholder advisory group that includes agricultural retailers, ground applicators, aerial applicators, pesticide manufacturers, farmers and ranchers that can review the current WPS and provide more targeted revisions rather than wholesale changes that are unworkable and costly for the agricultural industry.#LettertoAgencies #labor #WorkerProtectionStandard
In a letter to the House and Senate Leadership and Commerce Committees, the Agricultural Retailers Association and several other agricultural, energy, and chemical organizations encouraged support of specific reforms to increase competition among railroad companies and make the Surface Transportation Board (STB) a more effective and efficient regulatory body.
"The lack of competition for rail services has become a critical problem for American industry, as more than three-quarters of U.S. rail stations are now served by just one major rail company," the letter states. "Consolidation has given the remaining railroads unprecedented market power, and has denied many rail-dependent companies the benefits of cost-effective and reliable rail transportation service. Unreasonable rate increases, service breakdowns, and diminishing competition, all act as headwinds on the many industries that require rail to do business in the United States."
The letter recommends several methods to enhance efficiency of STB operations and reform rate challenge procedures.
The Agricultural Retailers Association signed onto a letter to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thanking her for her recent comments supporting the benefits of biotechnology.
"With all of the public debate on biotechnology and the fear, originating in false claims, that many have come to associate with it, hearing you speak in favor of the proven science is refreshing," the letter states. Clinton has since been criticized by anti-biotech activists for her position.
Clinton made the supportive comments during a June 25 appearance at the BIO International Convention in San Diego. In her remarks Clinton said: "There is a gap between what the facts are and what the perceptions are."
ARA also signed onto a letter to Reps. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, thanking them for their recent hearing exploring the societal benefits of biotechnology.
The House hearing included a good discussion among several committee members and four witnesses from agriculture and academia.#LettertoAgencies #LettertoCongress #biotechnology
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) recently introduced DISCLOSE 2014 with numerous cosponsors, including Rules Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
The legislation, like its predecessors in the 111th and 112th Congresses, is designed to chill the political speech of corporations, business interests, and others, while giving labor unions special protections.
The Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to have a hearing on the legislation tomorrow, and a mark-up of the legislation could occur before or, shortly after the August recess.
ARA has signed onto a multi-industry letter voicing strong opposition to the bill to Chairman Schumer, Ranking Member Roberts and members of the Rules Committee.
"The legislation is purported to be even-handed in its treatment of labor unions, corporations and business associations, but the reality is that it is designed to burden business groups significantly while effectively exempting labor unions," the coalition states in its letter. "The legislation's manifest purpose is to impose exceptional burdens on the speech of corporations and business interests based on their identity as corporations and their presumed hostility to the political objectives of the legislation's supporters."#LettertoCongress #labor #TaxFinanceTrade
ARA recently submitted written comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding the proposed rulemaking on Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. In the letter, ARA states it does not believe the new proposal applies to agribusinesses with drivers operating under the agricultural exemption.
Under the FMCSA proposal, ELDs must be installed and used in all commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) for which drivers are required to maintain records of duty status (RODs) under the HOS regulations. Congress reaffirmed the agricultural exemption to the HOS regulations as part of MAP-21 (Public Law 112-141) that was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2014. #LettertoAgencies #Transportation