ARA: ResponsibleAg has two-fold mission
Third, we aim to demonstrate responsibility to regulators and the public. Although no amount of regulation can hope to prevent all disasters, it is our belief that compliance with existing regulations rather than writing more of them is where the focus should be.
If the industry proactively and effectively manages safety for fertilizer products, and through improved compliance is able to reduce the risk of accidents, regulators and legislators will not be justified in imposing additional regulations.
There are already several ideas being floated for additional regulations, such as adding ammonium nitrate to the EPA RMP list, onerous requirements for liability insurance, and imposition of OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard on fertilizer retailers. The statutory EPCRA exemption for retailers has already been rendered moot by EPA interpretations.
Finally, we’re trying to ensure continued access to products. Calls to ban certain products have been issued, and those calls are likely to get louder if we fail to manage the issue effectively.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR A RETAILER?
• Improved safety for employees, neighbors and customers. Being engaged in your local community also means doing everything possible to minimize the risks of our business.
• Going through a ResponsibleAg audit should help you be better prepared for a regulatory agency audit. A ResponsibleAg audit will be able to tell you where your facility is complying with federal regulations and where improvements are needed, without the enforcement action or fines that might accompany a regulatory audit.
• Demonstrate transparency with your neighbors and the public. The public is concerned about fertilizer safety after the West Fertilizer incident, and we need to demonstrate the steps that are being taken to ensure their safety.
• Demonstrate responsibility to regulators and legislators. Something will be done in response to the West incident. An industry-led solution will be more tailored to industry needs and more efficient than one constructed solely by regulators.
• Provide assurance to suppliers. Suppliers will be able to know that a site has passed its most recent ResponsibleAg audit.
• Continued access to products. Calls for bans on particular products will get louder if perceived risks are not effectively managed. ResponsibleAg’s hope is to maintain access to a broad array of fertilizer products for specific needs, but to do so, the industry must demonstrate strong stewardship. Otherwise, the “easy” solution will be to ban certain products.