MURPHY, ESTY, DELAURO, COURTNEY LEAD BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO ENSURE FLEXIBILITY FOR CT DAIRY FARMERS IN TRANSPORTATION BILL

“The transportation of milk is an issue that affects businesses and consumers in every region and in every state”

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy joined Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) in a bipartisan effort to support Connecticut dairy farmers and truckers in the six-year transportation bill (H.R. 22). Nine Senators and 22 House members, including U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and Joe Courtney, (CT-2) joined the effort.

“Each day, more than 12,500 bulk milk trucks pick up milk at farms across the country and move it to over 2,000 processing plants. The transportation of milk is an issue that affects businesses and consumers in every region and in every state,” their letter reads. “We urge you to support language that was included in the House-passed version of H.R. 22, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, that would classify milk as a non-divisible load. This provision would allow states to issue special permits to bulk milk trucks, giving them more flexibility to ensure that milk is delivered in a timely manner and in compliance with federal and state food safety and security standards.”

Bipartisan signers of the House and Senate letters include: Senators Murphy, Leahy, Johnson, Crapo, Franken, Baldwin, Ayotte, Risch and King as well as Reps. Esty, Hanna, DeLauro, and Courtney. 

The language, offered by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT-5) and Richard Hanna (R-NY-22), was included in the House-passed version of the bill but was not included the bill passed by the Senate.

Read the full text of the letter online or below:

Dear Chairs and Ranking Members,

Each day, more than 12,500 bulk milk trucks pick up milk at farms across the country and move it to over 2,000 processing plants. The transportation of bulk milk is an issue that affects businesses and consumers in every region and in every state.

We urge you to support language that was included in the House-passed version of H.R. 22, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, that would classify milk as a non-divisible load. This provision would allow states to issue special permits to bulk milk trucks, giving them more flexibility to ensure that milk is delivered in a timely manner and in compliance with federal and state food safety and security standards.

By classifying milk as a non-divisible load, this provision acknowledges that milk cannot be easily divided or dismantled between farms and processing plants. Milk is a perishable product that must be sealed for safety and transported quickly. When milk truckers pick up bulk milk, they must load the entire stock of bulk milk that a farm produced that day – not just the amount of milk that would keep the trucker in compliance with state truck weight limits. This is problematic because the amount of milk produced at a farm varies from day-to-day, based on weather, feed, and other factors. As a result, milk truckers perpetually risk being overweight. While milk truckers can break the seal and offload a portion of the milk to bring their truck weight into compliance, doing so increases transportation time and compromises the safety and security of the milk.

Current law already permits states to issue special permits for non-divisible loads, such as trees, boats, or any other products whose integrity would be compromised through division. Adding milk to the list of products that qualify as non-divisible loads would improve the safety and security of bulk milk. What’s more, this provision would improve the stability of trucks loaded with fluid milk.

As the Conference Committee deliberates which provisions will be included in the final version of the DRIVE Act, we strongly urge your support the inclusion of this important milk classification.

Sincerely,

Sen. Chris Murphy

Sen. Patrick Leahy

Sen. Ron Johnson

Sen. Mike Crapo

Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Kelly Ayotte

Sen. Jim Risch

Sen. Angus King