ResponsibleAg Initiative Launched at Senate Hearing on March 6
April 22, 2014
On March 6, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at a hearing titled, "Preventing Chemical Threats and Improving Safety: Oversight of the President's Executive Order on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security." During the hearing, Crop Production Services Senior Manager of Environment, Health and Safety Billy Pirkle, who testified on TFI's behalf, announced the launch of ResponsibleAg.
"While the vast majority of fertilizer retail businesses operate safely and securely, we are acting out of an abundance of caution and concern for the well-being of workers and communities," said Pirkle. "For some retailers, the myriad federal agencies that regulate our industry can be a challenge to navigate, and we understand that government resources are limited. By forming ResponsibleAg, we are choosing to act now to more quickly address these issues." "We are dedicated to continuing to work with the investigators and regulators to understand the cause or causes of last April's West Fertilizer Company tragedy and have already taken concrete steps to prevent, and if necessary, mitigate future incidents from occurring," said Pirkle.
In order to fill the void in emergency response guidance specific to ammonium nitrate fertilizer at retail fertilizer facilities, Pirkle also indicated that TFI has worked with ARA to develop updated guidelines for use as a resource by the industry, government agencies and emergency responders.
"Today, I am pleased to inform you that 'Safety and Security Guidelines for the Storage and Transportation of Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizers,' has been finalized and will be widely disseminated throughout the industry," Pirkle said. "TFI hopes that this fertilizer specific information will ensure that emergency responders have the best and most recent information available when responding to an incident at a retail facility."
Pirkle cited the industry's immediate response to the West, Texas explosion as evidence of its responsibility and responsiveness. In doing so, he outlined a number of concrete steps TFI has taken to work with federal regulators and investigators and to keep the community of fertilizer retailers informed of the most up-to-date technical and compliance information.