Statewide Iowa — Strict new rules for storing a popular farm fertilizer are proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Iowa’s top farm advocate says the rules are “wrong on several levels.”
Iowa Agriculture Secretary and Spirit Lake farmer Bill Northey says the rules need to be thrown out and OSHA should go back to the drawing board. He says the proposed regulations stem from a fatal accident, but they really shouldn’t.
The blast at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas in April of 2013 leveled the small town, killed 15 people and destroyed dozens of homes. Investigators determined the explosion was caused by a fire that was intentionally set and was not caused by any breach in safety protocols. Northey says implementation of the regulations will cause a host of problems.
Northey says the cost of complying with the rules comes at a time when farmers and ranchers are already struggling financially and can’t really handle the extra burden.
Northey says the rules will hurt the smaller, independent retail fertilizer dealers the most. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is asking OSHA to delay enforcement of its new requirements for storage of anhydrous ammonia until at least July of 2018.