The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended the COVID-19 State of Emergency exemptions numerous times, but this specific instance of touching it is a unique one. While the Declaration is being modified to include new items to be hauled under it, it is not being extended, for the time being.
On May 13th, Robin Hutcheson released a statement on the FMCSA website amending the Emergency Declaration that is now ubiquitous to truckers nationwide. The change that she made? Commodities covered by the Declaration now include heating oils such as propane, natural gas, and heating oil.
According to their FAQ, the FMCSA, “…amended the Emergency Declaration to address particular fuel needs arising out of the ongoing emergency and to broaden the categories of fuel shipments covered.”
The declaration now covers these seven points:
- Livestock and livestock feed.
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
- Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19.
- Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
- Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethyl alcohol, and heating fuel including propane, natural gas, and heating oil.
- Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency).
While not confirmed, this amendment implies that another extension to the Declaration may be coming down the pipeline. After all, why make such a change to a declaration that is going to expire in fewer than twenty days from when the amendment takes place? We will keep you posted as to any updates (or lack of updates). Should the declaration be extended again, it will most likely be to the end of August 2022, marking thirty months of hours-of-service exemptions for truckers hauling in the fight against COVID-19.
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