Another Iowa county enacts bird flu disaster proclamation

November 29, 2023

Land Line Staff

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The number of Iowa counties that have issued a disaster proclamation directly related to confirmed positive cases of bird flu is now seven.

Sioux County’s proclamation was signed after USDA confirmation of cases with commercial layer chickens, the office of Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a news release. That order will remain in effect through Dec. 23.

Since late October, bird flu emergencies have been issued for Pocahontas, Clay, Hamilton, Taylor, Kossuth and Buena Vista counties.

All six of those counties are covered by an extension of the initial emergencies that remains in effect through Dec. 17.

The most recent bird flu disaster proclamation provides similar relief as the others from regulatory provisions and also provides state resources to assist with tracking, monitoring, rapid detection, containment, disposal and disinfection relating to the emergency.

Commercial vehicles operated under this proclamation must not exceed maximum gross weight or maximum axle weight. Vehicles also must adhere to all posted weight limits on roads and bridges.

Loads on all Iowa highways excluding interstates are covered by the proclamation.

FMCSA revising emergency rules

Such emergencies as these Iowa declarations soon will be issued under new guidelines.

On Oct. 10, FMCSA announced a final rule that would limit the amount of relief provided to motor carriers and truck drivers assisting with the emergency.

The regional emergency exemption window will be reduced from 30 days to 14, while eliminating the provision for relief including medical certification of drivers, vehicle inspection requirements, parts and accessories and transportation of hazardous materials.

FMCSA’s new rule will allow for automatic relief of hours-of-service regulations during an emergency and will establish a dedicated email inbox for extension or modification requests.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, representing truck drivers and small carriers, filed comments on the agency’s limitation of emergency declarations.

In formal comments, OOIDA wrote, “The agency (FMCSA) has no information that suggests that existing emergency exemptions have negatively impacted road safety.”

Based upon the Association’s comments and similar ones from other organizations, FMCSA adjusted its initial final ruling that shortened the window from 30 days to five.

FMCSA’s new ruling on emergency exemptions will go into effect on Dec. 12, according to the Federal Register. LL