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Luper Neidenthal & Logan is pleased to announce that the Ohio Trucking Association, board member John Alden of Luper Neidenthal & Logan/AldenLaw, and the National Tank Truck Carriers were successful in getting the city of Columbus to suspend their administration of a permitting program to haul hazardous materials within what is referred to the inner belt of Columbus. The ordinance has been in place since the mid-1990s, but the city decided within the last two years to start administering the program over the strong opposition by the Ohio Trucking Association. The association has met with the city on a number of occasions to express how complicating the permit is, and how the flow of commerce is such that makes it impossible to comply with the rigid standards of the permit.

Most recently, John Alden authored a letter to the city of Columbus outlining the actions the Ohio Trucking Association and the National Tank Truck Carriers were planning on taking to petition the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for a preemption from the permitting program if the city did not suspend their program. These preemptions have been granted frequently by PHMSA in cities like Cleveland and New York.

“This is about the common sense movement of freight. You cannot tell one mode that they can’t haul product into an area when you have another hauling thousands of pounds of the same thing less than a mile away,” said Tom Balzer, President & CEO of the Ohio Trucking Association. “It is just another bureaucratic boondoggle thrust onto the trucking industry under the cloak of safety without a true understanding of the impact of that decision.”

In the response from the city attorney’s office, they maintain that the city has the best intentions in mind and it “proactively mitigates risk.” They also said that they hope the industry will be involved in assisting with a review of the ordinance to insure “any restrictions appropriately protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare.”

“As is common in these scenarios, the city still believes the ordinance is justified and wants to find a way to make it workable. But we know from precedence that these types ordinances hinder commerce and do little to protect health, safety, and welfare,” said John Alden.
The Ohio Trucking Association will be closely monitoring the actions of the city of Columbus on this issue, as they have in the past, as it moves forward.