HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would have exempted milk haulers from travel bans imposed during a declaration of disaster emergency, meaning dairies will have to dump milk and lose revenue when roads are closed, according to Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair/Cumberland/Franklin/Fulton/Huntingdon) and Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair).
The House and Senate passed House Bill 915 that would have allowed milk haulers to use their discretion when roads are otherwise closed for disaster emergencies like snowstorms. The governor vetoed that measure Tuesday.
“At a time when our dairy industry is already facing serious challenges, it is disappointing that Gov. Wolf has made a choice that makes it even harder on the industry to get their products to market,” said Ward, who sponsored companion legislation in the Senate. “The bill was developed with a great deal of input and struck a balance between the safety of the public and getting milk to market. Milk haulers are some of the most experienced drivers on the road and are accustomed to driving in inclement weather. It is disheartening that with all the bills signed into law this week to help farmers that this was not included.”
“Cows don’t stop producing milk when it snows. By prohibiting the dairy industry from transporting its products, the governor is essentially telling farmers to pour profits down the drain,” Gregory said. “We should be able to trust professional haulers to evaluate the conditions and transport this perishable product when possible.”
Several hundred farmers advocated for the measure as part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s State Legislative Conference in March.