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Hartford Today, Esty, Courtney Highlight New Regulations for Dairy Trucks in Transportation Bill

January 14, 2016
Press Release

HARTFORD, CT —Today, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) and Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), held a press conference to highlight a major change in federal law which will allow states to issue weight exemptions for dairy trucks so that they will now be able to haul milk at full capacity. They were joined at the press conference by Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky and dairy farmers from across the state, including James ‘Cricket’ Jacquier of North Canaan who first made the request for the change in law.

“Dairy farmers have an economic, social, and environmental responsibility to ensure their milk products reach their consumers safely. Both dairy farmers and consumers benefit fiscally and environmentally from the changes in this amendment,” said Rep. Esty. “This bipartisan effort addresses outdated rules and regulations that have only hindered growth in the past. I want to thank my colleague and friend, Rep. Courtney, who was instrumental in rallying the Congressional Dairy Caucus to rally behind our cause, and Sen. Chris Murphy for his support in the Senate. I am proud to have worked closely with Connecticut farmers to bridge the gap between the federal level and what works for them.”

“I was very pleased that we were able to get this important change for our dairy farmers included in the federal transportation bill last month,” said Courtney. “In my role as the as a co-chair of the Congressional Dairy Caucus, I have advocated on the behalf of small and medium sized dairy farmers who expressed a need to change the law which prevented them from fully utilizing the container space in their milk trucks. Simply allowing our dairy farmers to fill their current milk hauling trucks to full capacity will save them both time and money, and prevent the need for additional trucks on our roadways. The new weight exemption will allow haulers to transport the same volume of fluid milk in four full milk trucks compared to the five partially filled milk trucks used to meet existing weight restrictions on Connecticut roads. I want to thank Congresswoman Esty for all of her work on the issue, and for offering the amendment in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where it was included in the larger transportation bill.”

“The dairy truck provision that was included in the transportation bill is the culmination of a long effort which brought leaders from the agricultural community together with leaders from all levels of government,” said James “Cricket” Jacquier of Laurelbrook Farm LLC. “Our goal was to help them better understand the dairy industry in Connecticut, and find real solutions that would have a positive impact for our farmers. The new regulations for dairy trucks will promote food safety, highway safety, environmental responsibility, and have a positive impact economically for many family owned businesses in our state and beyond.”

During the lead up to consideration of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Rep. Courtney worked with Rep. Esty and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) to find a way to address the concerns they have heard from local dairy farmers and truckers. After working out language that would address the issue, Rep. Esty, and Rep. Hanna then successfully passed an amendment—the Hanna-Esty Amendment—during committee consideration of the bill, which was included in the House passed bill and then the final measure that was signed into law. It allows states to issue special weight permits specific to bulk milk haulers, ensuring milk is moved safely, timely, and more cost-effectively. During the press conference, Rep. Courtney and Rep. Esty were joined by Connecticut dairy farmers to discuss the benefits of this change for industry, consumers, and Connecticut families.

The FAST Act was signed into law on December 4, 2015. Rep. Esty is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Rep. Courtney is Co-Chair of the Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus.