Today, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) introduced H.R. 1097 Preserving Jobs in the Oilfield Act of 2013.
The bill aims to reverse a guidance issued by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) last June that stated truck drivers transporting sand and water to and from oil and gas well sites no longer qualified for the waiting time exemptions, overturning a 50 year precedent. These drivers often have extended periods of down time waiting in a "staging area" where they can sleep, eat, and watch TV.
FMCSA's action has resulted in an increase of traffic coming in and out of well sites, causing added wear and tear to the roads. The oil and gas industry has experienced a 225% jump in payroll costs as well as an increase in insurance premiums, fuel costs and transportation costs.
"This is just another example of agencies not understanding the repercussions and practical application of the rules and regulations they put on business," said Congressman Mullin. "This is exactly the kind of regulatory action that I came to Congress to fight against. These agencies pass rule after rule, guidance after guidance which only adds another layer of bureaucracy on the business owner and the employee. Ultimately we all pay for higher costs of goods and services because of these needless regulations."
"We don't need more babysitting from D.C. bureaucrats who have never driven a truck, never made a payroll and never had to comply with any of the regulations they pass down to the rest of us," Mullin continued. "Enough is enough."
Truck driver Linden Cather of Antlers, Oklahoma said he supported the legislation by Congressman Mullin.
"It is ridiculous that a driver's waiting time counts against their total on duty time. In some cases it causes drivers like me to waste an entire day on the road because they can't predict when they will be able to load. It's just common sense. I'm glad that Congressman Mullin is trying to do something about this and hope that he is able to pass this bill."
The bill currently has 21 original co-sponsors, is endorsed by the National Association of Small Trucking Companies and is slated to be considered by the House of Representative committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.