Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) today in the capital introduced H.R. 486, the Preserving Jobs in the Oilfield Act of 2015. This bill would remove a burdensome Obama administration regulation that has far-reaching consequences on oil and gas jobs.
“This is another example of agencies not understanding the unnecessary burdens they place on businesses,” said Mullin, a second-term lawmaker from Westville, Okla. “This is exactly the kind of regulatory action that I came to Washington to fight. These agencies issue rule after rule, stacking burdensome layers on our government bureaucracy. As a result, all consumers pay higher costs for goods and services because of overreaching regulations.”
A new Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulation states that truck drivers transporting sand and water to and from oil and gas wells no longer qualify for the waiting time exemptions, overturning a 50 year precedent.
This action has resulted in increased traffic coming in and out of well sites, adding wear and tear to roads. The oil and gas industry has experienced a 225 percent jump in payroll costs as well as increased insurance premiums, fuel costs, and transportation costs—consequently limiting job growth.
“We don’t need more babysitting from bureaucrats who have never driven a truck or met a payroll,” Mullin added. “Enough is enough.”
Sand and water are critical components of drilling operations within the oil and gas industry. Subsequently, those who transport these elements to and from a well site are key to keeping production on schedule and operating safely.
But these drivers often have extended periods of downtime waiting in the queue, where they can rest and relax. Due to this downtime, water and sand drivers for over 50 years were not required to record this waiting time against their driving hours.
Truck driver Linden Cather of Antlers, Okla., says that he supports Mullin’s plan to reverse the regulation.
“It is ridiculous that a driver’s waiting time counts against their total on duty time,” said Cather. “In some cases, this 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 18 original co-sponsors. Mullin says that he is committed to working closely with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster to ensure that the issue is addressed in the 114th Congress.