America Outdoors Association
America Outdoors Association

 March 27, 2012

Confluence 2012
December 4-6

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America Outdoors Association Bulletin

Link to Check Your Federal Motor Carrier Authorization

AOA Occupies Washington (For Two Days)

Link to Check Your Federal Motor Carrier Authorization.  Failure to Report Insurance May Invalidate Your Authorization.

Here is another link to enable you to check on your Motor Carrier Authorization for interstate passenger carriage, commonly known as an MC number.  HTTPS://WWW.SAFERSYS.ORG/COMPANYSNAPSHOT.ASPX

You need DOT numbers and an MC number to transport passengers in interstate commerce to be in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) regulations.  Several companies’ operating across state lines have been shutdown for up to 6 weeks until they obtain MC passenger authorization numbers.

As of March 28, 2012, if you followed the link on the FMCSA website under Help Me Register you would have been advised that you do not need to register.  However, the FMSCA's interpretation of their regulations are inconsistent with this registration template based on the latest interpretation from the agency out of their DC office.   This site may change in the near future.

Problems may arise when insurance coverage is not properly reported to the FMSCA, even if you have an MC number.  Outfitters with primary insurance coverage and an umbrella policy will need to check to be certain that both policies are reported to the FMCSA by their insurer if both policies are used to achieve the $5 million limit for buses crossing state lines.  Your insurer reports coverage to the FMCSA using MCS-90B, according to the FMCSA.  If you have cancelled your policy for any reason, even if you reinstated it later, your authorization may not be up to date as one outfitter discovered.  He had cancelled his policy at the end of the season, but when he renewed it later, the renewed coverage was not reported to the FMCSA.  Insurers may need to be advised to make that filing if you are transporting customers across state lines and have an MC number.  Some agents may not be up to speed on FMSCA requirements.

AOA Occupies Washington (For Two Days)

Last week, members of America Outdoors Association and state organizations met with members of Congress and the Administration over issues vital to your company’s survival.  Please thank Brian Merrill, Jack Rich, Arlo Tejada, Grant Simonds, Scott Montgomery, Aaron Bannon, and Eric Martin who took time away from their business to represent your interests at Camp Washington.  The group was accompanied by AOA’s Executive Director David Brown.  We amused the ruling class in DC when we told them the Camp Washington name was chosen because we actually thought we could camp on the Mall years ago, which is an idea we may revive. 

Here are the issues we addressed:

CDL requirements for drivers of 9 to 15 passenger interstate commercial motor vehicles (CMV vans and 9 passenger Suburbans).  Hundreds of jobs will be lost if a CDL requirement is instituted for 9 to 15 passenger vans.  Fortunately, some in Congress are waking up to this threat.  We believe that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is inclined to require Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL’s) for 9 to 15 passenger commercial motor vehicles.  Therefore, it is imperative that SEC. 32709 of the Senate version of MAP-21 be deleted from the Highway bill.  The House of Representatives is expected to pass a short term authority for spending on highway projects as early as today without the van study requirements, then consider the Senate bill or develop their own legislation.  Representative Lewis (D-GA) is said to be planning to offer his Motor Coach Enhanced Safety Act (H.R. 873) as a floor amendment, which includes a provision that will require a CDL for 9 to 15 passenger vans and CMV’s. 

In 2007 fatalities from bicycle accidents (701) were ten times higher than fatalities occurring in accidents involving 9 to 15 passenger vans. Of the 69 fatalities in 9 to 15 passenger vans, 80% were not “restrained”, according to the FMCSA own study and many were not commercial motor vehicles.  Nonetheless, some in Congress seem intent on increasing the federal safety bureaucracy with overlays of additional regulations to cover a handful of accidents in CMV’s.

Reauthorization of the Federal Land Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA).
FLREA is the permitting authority for issuing permits for outfitter and guide operations in National Forests and on BLM lands.  FLREA expires in 2014. 
• If it is not renewed in this Congress or the next, the permit fees outfitters pay will not be retained at the resource for recreation management.  Recreation capacity could contract.
• We generally support FLREA reauthorization with changes that include better accountability on the use of the fees and more payer involvement in planning fee supported projects. 

Do not include outfitter and guide special use permits under the Trust Authority in the Federal Forests County Revenue, Schools, and Jobs Act of 2012, H.R. 4019.  Many outfitting businesses operating in National Forests will be eliminated by the fee requirements in H.R. 4019. 
• The bill mandates timber harvest levels and puts special use permitting activities (projects) under a Country Trust Authority to fund federal payment to Counties.
• 65% of revenues from timber, recreation and other activities go to the Trust for payments to counties.   35% of the revenue goes to Treasury.  The Forest Service receives none of the fee revenue from recreation or other special uses except for cost recovery for environmental analyses.  The agency will have to revert to another fee authority to collect fees, which will result in huge fee increases for existing permit holders. 
• Only timber harvest projects are required by the bill.  Where revenue requirements for payments to counties can be satisfied by receipts from timber, recreations permits and other activities are actually prohibited. 
• Cost recovery for environmental reports for outfitting and guiding permits alone may be “equal to one-third of the estimated value of the receipts to be generated by the trust project”. 
• Fees for outfitting and guiding will be crippling in areas without significant timber harvests and variable each year based on the requirements to meet the fixed revenue requirements for County payments.

During a meeting with NPS, it became apparent that NPS does not intend to back off its requirement for higher liability insurance limits.  When asked if the contracts would be modified in the event the higher limits become unavailable or unaffordable, the Chief of Visitors Services said if the activities were uninsurable maybe they should not be provided in National Parks.  The ultimate Catch 22.

We offered solutions to trails clogged by fire and beetle kill.  A strategy to keep trails open is critical to economic sustainability of many rural economies.  We asked for support for reauthorization of the Recreational Trails Program in MAP-21, which was approved as an amendment to the Senate bill with bipartisan support.  We recommended establishment of a special account from existing recreation fees under FLREA for agency wide projects to fund challenge cost share agreements or fee credits to reimburse outfitter labor.

Meeting with BLM Director Bob Abbey, Chairman of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoors Recreation.  The most productive and positive meeting of the week was with BLM Director Bob Abbey who asked for our recommendations on how he could achieve the objectives of improving recreation and recreation access.  We discussed how outfitters could participate with a listing on, the interagency website designed to provide the public with information about recreation opportunities on federal lands.  We also suggested that agencies be more open to allowing new activities on public lands to enable outfitters to adjust to changing markets.

America Outdoors Association
PO Box 10847
Knoxville, TN 37939

Phone: 1-800-524-4814

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