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Senate Makes Highway Bill Amendments Exempting Ag Trucks


This week, the U.S. Senate approved amendments to the $106 billion transportation bill that would exempt agricultural truck drivers from maximum driving limits during planting and harvesting seasons. In addition, the bill would exempt drivers of farm vehicles from obtaining commercial driver’s licenses. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House but not yet voted on.

You may now be required to obtain a permit if you are going to apply pesticides over or in the vicinity of flowing water. This is in response to a federal appeals court ruling that pesticides are regulated under the Clean Water Act as well as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The permit process takes between 14 and 30 days. A permit may be required for anyone applying pesticides near or over streams, ponds or lakes.

The U.S. Senate defeated two amendments aimed at supporting the biofuels industries. The $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit expired at the end of December and an effort to attach an amendment to reinstate it to the transportation bill failed. The Senate also defeated an effort to extend the $1.01 cellulosic producer tax credit and the accelerated depreciation allowances for biofuels production facilities.

There may be few opportunities to pass these bills to encourage production of biofuels this year and the lack of support could stymie increases in production and use.


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