The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wants those who sell anhydrous ammonia to follow the same storage standards as those who make the fertilizer.
The change in policy is a response to the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, in 2013.
But Jordan Dux, director of national affairs for Nebraska Farm Bureau, says that investigation found the incident was caused by arson and not due to how the fertilizer, which was ammonia nitrate, was stored.
“It’s hard to prevent an arsonist. Additional regulations aren’t necessarily going to prevent that from taking place,” Dux tells Nebraska Radio Network. “So, you have, in our mind, a faulty reasoning why these regulations were needed.”
OSHA announced the new rule in July 2015 to take effect October 1, 2016.
“There are a lot of facilities that are not going to be able to meet that timeline. Those tanks are just not available,” Dux says. “Not only is the cost [prohibitive], but the realistic expectation to come into compliance with these regulations are also lacking.”
Dux also says OSHA did not follow the formal rule making process either, so they are asking Congress to prevent enforcement.
“Cooperative folks have put together a series of numbers and some of these larger systems are looking to having new expenses of around $15 million and a couple hundred thousand dollars additional, each year, in new compliance costs, because of the paperwork they’re going to have to go through,” he says.
U.S. Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE3) has introduced a bill to prevent OSHA from putting the rule in place this October.