An anhydrous ammonia nurse tank is seen at CHS Southwest Grain east of Taylor on Sunday, May 1, 2016. (Dustin Monke / The Dickinson Press)
Court stops anhydrous ammonia rule
By Forum News Service Today at 1:39 p.m.
A court’s decision to stop a new federal anhydrous ammonia rule is good for farmers in North Dakota and nationwide, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Sen Heidi Heitkamp, D.N.D., said Friday.
The decision by the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals prevents the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from going forward with its anhydrous rule until “it follows the proper notice-and-comment procedures,’ according to information from Hoeven’s office.
“We stopped OSHA’s anhydrous ammonia regulation from being implemented in fiscal year 2016, and we have legislation moving right now that would prevent the rule from being implemented in fiscal year 2017,” Hoeven said in a news release.
“Now, today’s court ruling sends OSHA back to square one to ensure that producers are heard. That’s essential not only because the regulation would be a hardship for farmers, but also because consumers will ultimately foot the bill paying higher food prices,” he said.
The regulation would force ag retail facilities to comply with the same chemical storage requirements as a wholesale facility. That would have caused some retailers to stop selling anhydrous ammonia, a widely used fertilizer, at rural locations, Hoeven’s office said.
“This is a victory for rural communities whose economies rely on farmers’ accessing inputs like anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. Complying with those standards could have cost each facility up to $50,000, according to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture,” Heitkamp said in a news release.
“More than 30 North Dakota retailers said they would have had to stop selling the fertilizer. With those huge impacts on our farmers, it was clear all along that there should have been a formal rulemaking process rather than just agency guidance with little input from those impacted,” she said.