House approves bill to exempt some fuel haulers from hours regs until May 31

Updated Mar 7, 2014

propane truckU.S. House members have approved a measure that would extend hours-of-service exemptions for propane and home heating fuel haulers to May 31.

On voice vote, the House passed the Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation Act March 4, following a 40-minute debate. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) sponsored the HHEATT Act or H.R. 4076, which has 36 co-sponsors.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued HOS waivers after a severe winter and distribution issues created some regional home heating fuel shortages. It can only issue emergency exemptions in 30-day increments.

When the bill was introduced Feb. 25, regional exemptions existed for 36 midwest, western and eastern states, as well as the District of Columbia.

Since then, governors in 15 of those states have asked for extensions. South Dakota, Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont have active exemptions until March 15.

State governors also have extended exemptions for various end dates in March, including Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

The bill would allow Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to end the extension if the propane crisis is resolved before May 31. Foxx would be required to consult with governors in affected states and lift the waivers on a state-by-state basis.

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