November 15, 2013 Contact: Kathy Mathers

"We would like to thank you for hosting public sessions around the country and hope these sessions will provide the federal agencies with valuable input.

The fertilizer industry lives with the West, Texas, ammonium nitrate explosion every day.  Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims, their families, and the community at large.

TFI’s membership consists of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and importers of all types of fertilizers, nitrogen, phosphate, and potash and our industry makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through jobs and the purchase of goods and services.  Fertilizer is responsible for approximately 50 percent of the world’s food production.

The fertilizer industry wants to work with you as you review programs and make recommendations to respond to the Executive Order.  We don’t want another West, Texas.

The fertilizer industry supports efforts to coordinate between state and federal agencies, cross reference databases, federal coordination on inspections to minimize facility time and agency resources.  We have asked our members to contact local emergency responders and invite them into our facilities so that they will have a clear understanding of the business of fertilizer.

As most of you know, there is a fertilizer retail exclusion for reporting under EPCRA.  TFI supports removal of this exclusion.  We feel everyone should report hazardous chemicals stored on site to the LEPC and SERC and work with local fire departments without exception.  But this reporting should be limited to hazardous chemicals so that LEPC’s and SERC’s aren’t overburdened with unnecessary information.

TFI also supports finalization of the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program at DHS and long term reauthorization of the CFATS program and we look forward to continued cooperation with DHS in this regard.

TFI has worked closely with EPA over the years on the Risk Management Program for agricultural retailers and we look forward to that continued cooperation.

TFI members are currently working with NFPA to see what changes need to be made to the ammonium nitrate code under NFPA.

TFI has been meeting with OSHA on issues within its jurisdiction – particularly 1910.109(i) and we look forward to continued cooperation with OSHA.

Farmers ability to have fertilizer choices is important.  Crop nutrient needs differ depending on soil and climate.  We are pleased that USDA is involved in this process to ensure the interest of America’s farmers is heard.

As an industry, we have several voluntary efforts underway.  We are working hand in hand with the Agricultural Retailers Association and have made available to the industry a regulatory compliance assistance tool – which is a web based program for agricultural retailers to assess their compliance with federal regulations.

In addition, TFI and ARA are developing a Fertilizer Code of Practice and third party audit program for agricultural retailers handling fertilizer materials.  The program will help to ensure those handling and storage crop nutrients are doing so in accordance with Federal laws and regulations.

In closing, again I want to assure you that we want to work with you and look forward to doing so."