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August 20 2018

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52 The Journal of Commerce | August 20 2018 By Colin Barrett Q&A Q A It's a waste subject to compliance I read a response you wrote to a question about commodity exemptions and for-hire authority status. I was hoping perhaps that you might be able to help me as your response seemed very thorough. I would like to contract a dump trailer carrier in Tennes- see to haul auto fluff. Auto fluff is the material le over aer siing through shredded automobile scrap. It's a light fluffy worthless material. The carrier would haul 60-mile shuttle runs to the dump and stay within 100 miles of its business's physical address. It claims it hauls for-hire for several companies, but it doesn't have an MC authority, nor US Department of Transportation authority, nor an intrastate authority. The carrier seems very reputable and has been in business for more than 20 years. Do you have any insight as to how it might be able to do this? I'VE HAD TO give myself a crash course in auto fluff — otherwise known as automotive shredder residue (ASR) — to offer an intelligent response to your question. ASR, I discovered, is what's left of a junked motor vehicle once the good bits are stripped off and the remainder is run through a shredder, a machine that grinds everything up into tiny pieces in much the same way as your teeth crunch up the food you eat. This final step turns it into little bales of compacted trash that must be disposed of one way or another; more about this below. First, at the federal level, it doesn't appear to be exempt from regulation, meaning a Federal Motor Car-rier Safety Administration (FMCSA) registration (license) is required to haul it on a for-hire basis. Further- more, it's generally regarded as hazardous because it may contain lead, cadmium, and various environment- ally toxic plastics, which drags the Environmental Protection Agency (or whatever's left of it) into the picture. In your case, the FMCSA probably won't be involved, because the agency only has jurisdiction over interstate transportation, and, as you indicate, the haulage is solely within Tennessee. But state licensure would apply because the law basically requires states to adhere to federal standards. The distance is basically irrele- vant. You can and should double-check this with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, because I'm afraid I can't keep track of the regulations of all 50 states. The EPA also may have something to say if it's still alive and kicking by the time this reaches print, not- withstanding the intrastate nature of the movement. Which is to say, I'm not sure your prospective carrier is operating legally. The illegality strikes me as pretty minor, and of a sort that's widely overlooked in the present milieu. But it's something that could come back to bite you if you hire this carrier, because hippers are held legally responsible for compliance with laws and regulations governing hazmat transportation, and can be penalized (fined) if they don't comply, even though the fault may lie entirely with a contractor. I'm scarcely an expert on the subject of ASR just from a light review of the subject. But I'll bet you know of those much more knowledgeable than I, or can find them via the trade association of your industry. (I'm sure there is one; trade associations seem to grow up to cover just about every sector of our economy.) And I'd strongly advise you to contact them and get more detailed information than I can offer, especially about the hazmat status of your auto fluff and the rules applied to it. Well, that's the bad news. But my research also uncovered some further informa- tion about ASR — specifically, that it may not be as worthless as you seem to think. Mostly, I found, it gets dumped into landfills, as yours seems to be. But there are efforts, espe- cially in California, to reclaim the plastics incorpora- ted into your auto fluff and recycle them as fuel, which I guess makes sense when you recognize that plastic is a petroleum product. I have no idea how the plastics get separated out of the mix of dreck that's left over from a shredded truck or car, but it seems there's a way. Now, anything that can be recycled into an energy source isn't entirely worthless. This might be an alter- native you'd find worth exploring. And wouldn't it be environmentally nice to do something constructive with what you've previously considered garbage instead of plowing it into a landfill? JOC Consultant, author, and educator Colin Barrett is president of Barrett Transportation Consultants. Send your questions to him at 5201 Whippoorwill Lane, Johns Island, SC 29455; phone, 843 559 1277; email, Contact him to order the most recent 351-page compiled edition of past Q&A columns, published in 2010. I'm not at all sure that your prospective carrier is operating legally.

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