Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is praising the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management for investigating how federal agencies determine whether to produce guidance or engage in formal rulemaking.

North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) staff attended the September 23 hearing, which was spurred by OSHA’s recent decision to issue guidance that changed the definition of a “retail” facility, in effect changing how anhydrous ammonia facilities are regulated.

Under OSHA’s guidance, the new policy will place an additional 275 North Dakota facilities under a different regulatory classification. North Dakota had only eight (8) manufacturing and wholesale distribution facilities that fell under the previous rule prior to OSHA’s policy change.

“The guidance issued will affect 283 anhydrous ammonia facilities in our state and the cost to implement the new changes could force many small- and medium-sized operators out of business,” Goehring said. “This goes against the very definition of guidance, which is that it not be economically significant or cause binding requirements.”

Mary Beth Maxwell with the Department of Labor promised to follow up with Chairman James Lankford (R-OK) and members of the subcommittee regarding their process.

Goehring further emphasized that “NDDA is now looking at all options available to us, to ensure North Dakota anhydrous ammonia facilities, farmers, and operators are not forced out of business by excessive, unreasonable regulation and that they have the necessary tools and resources to carry out their operations.”

The hearing can be viewed at regulatory-guidelines.