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Newsletter
Volume 104
July 2, 2012
Welcome Jimmy Sanders, Inc.
It's always great news when you learn a new client is coming onboard. Jimmy Sanders, Inc., one of the most respected names in agriculture in the South, has decided to become a client. The organization is growing and was interested in providing scalable and consistent services to all their locations. We look forward to working with the Jimmy Sanders locations as they settle into the retainer program in July.
Ammonia Technician Course Schedule Announced
The Ammonia Technician Course (ATC) was developed in 2011 and specifically designed for the personnel responsible for the mechanical integrity of the equipment used to store, handle and apply anhydrous ammonia. The hands-on course met with success last year with all 12 classes filling quickly. This course has over $200,000 in equipment in the training room as part of the curriculum. The ATC course schedule has been posted and registrations for the 2012 classes are now underway.
New Class Schedule - New Location - New Instructor
Fourteen classes will be taught at the new Agricenter in Bloomington, Illinois. Craig Dobbins with Craig's Restoration & Repair, LLC in Durant, Iowa will be the lead instructor for this 3-day course. The ATC course was relocated to Bloomington, IL because of its central location. Bloomington is within 4 hours driving distance of 80% of the anhydrous ammonia used in production agriculture. We welcome Craig as our new partner in teaching this course. Craig has valuable experience in the installation, repair, maintenance, inspection and testing of anhydrous ammonia equipment. He is very familiar with the regulations that govern ammonia installations and equipment and will be a valuable addition to our line of Signature Training courses.
Note: ATC is not your typical training on how to safely handle and transfer ammonia. It deals with practically all the components used to store, handle or apply anhydrous ammonia and more importantly, how they work together to provide for a safe, mechanically-sound operation. This training is a must-have if you store or handle anhydrous ammonia at your facility. We recommend that at least one person at each ammonia facility complete this training. Click here to review the schedule and register.
National Safety School 2012 - Register Today!
The National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School will be held in Bloomington, IL this year on August 21 & 22, 2012 at the new Asmark Institute Agricenter. There is a renewed interest and level of energy in the Safety School and we encourage each of our clients to register and participate in this quality program. An outstanding lineup of speakers has been secured for the 2012 program, including Richard Gearheard, President of Crop Production Services, Dr. Fred Whitford, Coordinator of the Purdue Pesticide Programs, Brian Bothast with OSHA and Warren Goetsch, Bureau Chief with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Topics include Building a Safety Culture, a Round Table on NPDES Permits, the ABC's of Trailers and Hitches, OSHA and DOT Hot Topics for 2012, Electrical Safety, OSHA Grain Inspections and Securing Your Business. Updates from industry professionals such as Pam Guffain with TFI, Inspector Ryan Gibson with DHS and George Hess with U.S. EPA, will be included on topics such as Ammonium Nitrate Regulations, CFATS, RMP and more. HAZWOPER emergency response refresher training will also be held in conjunction with the Safety School's activities. To view the agenda and register, please click here.
While in Bloomington that week, we recommend that you stay an extra day to attend the Midwest AG Industries Expo (MAGIE) on August 22 & 23, 2012. It's truly one of the finest displays of "ride and buy" shows in the United States. For more information on registering for MAGIE, click here.
Reminder: HazMat Annual Registration Expires on June 30th
If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by the DOT, they must be registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT). A copy of the current registration must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. You can register and pay the fee online at the DOT's website by clicking here.
DOT Set to Release 2012 ERGs
The 2012 ERG is expected to arrive at Asmark this week. The summary of changes for the 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) has been released by DOT and this typically is followed by the release of the book for distribution. If you have placed your pre-order, we will ship all orders on record within a week of receiving our supply. Asmark Institute is scheduled to receive the delivery of the 2012 ERGs this week.
U.S. DOT Hazmat Safety Tool Now Available
The 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook, which DOT produces for first responders who may encounter accidents or incidents involving hazmat, is now available free online. The guidebook contains an indexed list of dangerous goods and the associated ID number, the general hazards they pose and recommended safety precautions. For example, if emergency responders arrive at the scene of an overturned tractor trailer displaying a DOT hazmat placard, they would use the guide to identify the material associated with the placard and how to respond accordingly. Click here to view the 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook. Click here to view the Intro Video (5 minutes).
Supreme Court Health Care Decision Fires Up America
Immediate reactions to this week's Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are likely a bit premature given the 130-page decision has yet to be fully analyzed, but general reaction to the decision by ag groups pretty much followed the political leanings of the organization. While the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) took a "this still needs to be fixed" position, according to reports, the National Farmers Union (NFU) praised the decision. The issue remains the cost of the overall program, how insurance companies will pass along any increased costs and how employers will react when it comes to hiring. Some say the 50-full-time employee threshold for coverage under ACA means many employers will simply hire more part-time employees, while others contend hiring decisions will be deferred until after the November election. Many legislators have put out releases calling the mandate "the single biggest tax increase in American history." Currently, about 65% of the American public opposes the ACA generally, according to reports.
Congress Restores Hours of Service (HOS) Exception for Agriculture
In what was heralded as good news for the agriculture industry, the U.S. House and Senate came to an agreement last week on the highway transportation bill that contains language that asserts the Hours of Service exception for the delivery of farm supplies and agricultural commodities. This exception has been in jeopardy for the last several years, particularly for delivery of agricultural inputs from wholesale points or terminals to the retail site. For the past 2 years, our industry has been operating under a special waiver for the delivery of anhydrous ammonia from terminals to retail sites. This waiver is set to expire in October 2012.
Of great significance are two items in the bill language: All farm supplies are once again included in the exception, meaning the transportation of other forms of fertilizer can now also utilize the exemption as can agrichemicals. Additionally, the exemption is expanded to a 150 air mile radius from the distribution point, be it a retail or wholesale distribution point. The radius was formerly 100 air miles. The HOS exception is for planting and harvesting seasons as determined by each state.
This great news was made possible by many, many hours of hard work, research, fact finding and negotiation performed by the staff of The Fertilizer Institute, Ag Retailers Association, Agricultural Food Transporters, American Trucking Association and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. There was hardly a more unified effort on behalf of national and state associations working with U.S. DOT and with the congressional delegations to reaffirm the vital need for the HOS exception for agriculture.
EPA's Budget Cut Deeply by FY2013 House Appropriations Bill
The House Appropriations Committee this past week approved its FY2013 Interior-Environment spending bill appropriating $28 billion for the Department of Interior, EPA, the Forest Service and related agencies, and in that package, EPA's budget was slashed 17%. The overall spending level is $1.2 billion below last year's level, and $1.7 billion less than the President requested. Committee action centered on the EPA cuts, including an 80% cut in the Land & Water Conservation Fund; a nearly $800-million cut in the Water State Revolving Fund, and climate change programs were in for a nearly 30% cut. The bill also included a number of policy riders on mine clean-ups and coal-fired utilities designed to prevent EPA from proceeding with rulemakings.
EPA to Host Public Hearing on Aerial Surveillance
Under fire from almost all sides, EPA will hold public meetings in Iowa and Nebraska to answer questions while explaining its use of aerial surveillance as part of feedlot compliance investigations. The hearings were announced shortly after the entire Nebraska congressional delegation sent a letter to EPA asking for an explanation of the EPA fly-overs. When the response from EPA Region 7 didn't satisfy the delegation, Senator Mike Johanns (R, NE) got into dueling Farm Bill amendments on the floor with Senator Barbara Boxer (D, CA) over the value of the flights and whether they should be halted until explanation is forthcoming. Both amendments failed. Producers see the surveillance as an invasion of privacy and unnecessary. EPA says the fly-overs provide evidence of violations, and if evidence is found, an on-ground inspection is ordered. The Nebraska meeting will be held on Monday, July 2nd from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Lexington, NE, at the Holiday Inn Express. The next meeting is in Carroll, IA, and will be held August 30th.
New Indiana Fertilizer Rules Take Effect in 2013
New fertilizer rules are in effect for farmers and fertilizer dealers, regulating how manure and other fertilizers can be staged on farms and applied to fields. The rules are designed to keep fertilizers out of waterways and wells and take effect on February 16, 2013. The Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC) has posted the rules on its website. It will inform licensed fertilizer dealers and private and commercial applicators of the rules by mail. This gives farmers, dealers and applicators one year to comply with the new rules. Matt Pearson, Administrator of the office's fertilizer section, said it is possible some fertilizer dealers and applicators may not know about the rules by the time they take effect. He said the office will take this into consideration.
INDIANA: No Smoking Law Takes Effect July 1st
The new Indiana law prohibits smoking in public places and places of employment. The definition of "place of employment" encompasses only enclosed areas of structures that are places of employment. It does not cover outdoor workers or apply to private vehicles. However, there is nothing in the law that prohibits employers from adopting their own rules and policies regarding workplace smoking, such as prohibiting smoking in parking lots or elsewhere in areas used by the company.
FMCSA - Out of Service Rates for Motor Carriers and Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced changes recently to its policy on calculating driver and vehicle hazardous materials out-of-service (OOS) rates and crash rates. Under FMCSA regulations, a hazardous materials safety permit (HMSP) is required for motor vehicles carrying materials poisonous by inhalation in more than one liter per package in hazard zone A; materials poisonous by inhalation in bulk packages with a capacity of more than 119 gallons in hazard zone B; materials poisonous by inhalation in packaging with a capacity equal to or greater than 3,500 gallons in hazard zone C or D; and, certain explosives. Motor carriers transporting anhydrous ammonia in packaging with a capacity equal to or greater than 3,500 gallons require a safety permit. Anhydrous ammonia is a hazard zone D commodity. Granting a safety permit is based on out-of-service and crash rates.
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and others have been working with FMCSA to change the program, because declining annual rates for hazardous material carriers made it harder to obtain a safety permit. The new changes will provide more certainty to safety permit holders. FMCSA determined that safety will be improved by providing a clearly identifiable standard for industry compliance.
Syngenta Reaches Agreement to Settle Atrazine Lawsuit
On May 24th, Syngenta reached an agreement to settle the lawsuits filed by community water systems regarding the use of atrazine. In a show of support for farmers, ag retailers, distributors and agriculture in general, the settlement releases all entities from liability related to the presence of atrazine in any water supply. Syngenta also acknowledges no liability, based on the fact that the plaintiffs were never able to come up with any scientific evidence regarding their claim that atrazine is not safe when used according to the label. The Illinois Fertilizer and Ag Chemical Association (IFCA), distributors and 50 Illinois ag retailers were involved in the lawsuit, having to produce documents, application records and respond to threats of deposition. For over 8 years this has been dragging on with no indication it was ever going to end. Syngenta agreed to settle for $105 million, with a portion of this money going to the community water systems if they accept the agreement. The settlement also assures that farmers, retailers, distributors and related entities will be released from liability related to the presence of atrazine in any water supply from the labeled use of the product.
The science has always been clear: No one has ever been or could have been exposed to enough atrazine in drinking water to affect their health. It is also clear that atrazine benefits agriculture by up to $3.3 billion annually, reduces soil erosion and supports American jobs.
In the end, this was never about the safety of atrazine. One can understand Syngenta's decision, which had to be extremely difficult to make. This brings closure for Syngenta's customers and the settlement does not impede any future utilization of atrazine according to the label. It is tragic that the judicial system can be manipulated to make unsubstantiated claims against a reputable company and the legal use of a product that has been proven to be safe. Millions were spent in litigation, in the end serving no useful purpose for society as a whole. Special thanks to Jean Payne, IFCA President for providing this article and helping fight this battle.
New Cargo Securement Guide Available
Motor carriers can now use the same load securement tool as law enforcement does. The ultimate guide to make sure your cargo loads are compliant and properly secured is available from ATA Business Solutions for $20. Distributed in collaboration with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, this guidebook is based on the North American Cargo Securement Standards, which serves as the model for the regulations adopted by the United States. This guide is the go-to for the trucking industry for outlining proper cargo securement, providing easy-to-read diagrams, pictures and charts covering the principles of preparing cargo for transport. It covers vehicle requirements for vans and flatbeds, cargo tiedowns, loading and securing all types of freight, inspecting cargo and enforcement and compliance. For more information and ordering, call toll-free 1-866-821-3468 or go to www.ATABusinessSolutions.com.
EPA Publishes New Proposed Air Particulate Standard
Responding to a federal court order that republication of its controversial proposed air particulate standard must happen this year, EPA last week published its new, more restrictive proposal for "fine particles" and "soot," a move that immediately drew fire from industry and praise from environmental groups. The new standard would set the PM 2.5 acceptable level at 12 micrograms per cubic meter; the current standard is 15 micrograms per cubic meter, a level set in 1997. The existing 24-hour fine particle standard and the coarse particulate standards would not change. GOP members of Congress and business groups said the new EPA levels for regulated particulates emanating from refineries, manufacturing plants and auto exhaust is just another Obama Administration/EPA "job killing regulation," and will cause economic slowdowns and job losses in areas of the country where the new standard can't be met. States have until 2020 to comply. The new rule proposal has also been criticized for not revealing the specific studies EPA used to arrive at the new, tighter particulate standard. Representative Ralph Hall (R, TX), Chair of the House Science, Space & Technology Committee, said the proposed rule "appears to be based on secret data that EPA has refused to make public." The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said there are many questions surrounding the process by which EPA selected studies to be used in its calculations.
Inhofe Introduces Amendments to Farm Bill that Rein in EPA
Senator Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, recently introduced a number of amendments to the Farm Bill, which rein in EPA's regulatory burden that is harming farmers and rural communities across America. "The biggest threat to family farmers and rural America is onerous, costly regulations coming out of the EPA," Senator James Inhofe said. "That is why I've introduced amendments to the farm bill that will lessen the regulatory burden for farmers struggling in a tough economy. One amendment eases farmers' compliance with EPA's Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule - a rule that is designed for refineries and major handlers of oil and gas products, not farmers; another amendment provides certainty for rural communities who are grappling with EPA's stated plans to issue new stormwater rules. I am pleased to introduce these amendments and I look forward to working with my colleagues to eliminate some of the pain of EPA's regulations on farmers and rural communities."
Inhofe-Sessions Amendment #2251 on Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC)
This amendment exempts farmers from SPCC regulations for above-ground oil storage tanks that have an aggregate storage capacity of less than 12,000 gallons. In addition to providing this exemption, it also allows all farmers who are regulated to self-certify their own plans. This will dramatically decrease costs by eliminating the need to hire a professional engineer - of which there are very few available to farmers to complete these plans. There is virtually no history of oil spills from agricultural operations and farms simply do not pose the risks of potential spills that other sectors do.
Inhofe-Vitter Amendment #2250 on Stormwater Regulations
This amendment will provide certainty for rural communities struggling with EPA's stated plan to impose new stormwater regulations. It will ensure that EPA keeps its word and fully evaluates the current stormwater regulatory situation - what practices work and don't work, what the costs and benefits are to cities and counties - before imposing new, uncertain and costly stormwater rules that can hurt rural communities. In EPA's current stormwater regulations, the agency committed to completing an evaluation of the current rule - this amendment prevents EPA from issuing any new regulations until that evaluation is completed. It simply ensures that EPA follows its own regulations and guidance.
Inhofe Amendment #2249 - Block Grant the Food Stamp Program
In addition to the two amendments reining in EPA, Senator Inhofe also introduced an amendment that would repeal the current mandatory food stamp program and replace it with a discretionary block grant, with money going to states to design and run their own nutrition assistance programs. Because states know the needs of their people much more intimately than the federal government ever will, they can design their nutrition assistance programs in whatever way makes sense for them. It gets the federal government out of the food stamp business altogether and empowers states to design and run their own programs.
Barrasso-Inhofe Amendment #2165
Senator Inhofe is co-sponsoring an amendment version of S. 2245, the Preserve the Waters of the US Bill. This bill will prevent EPA from issuing guidance that will fundamentally change the scope of the Clean Water Act - pushing it well beyond the limits that the Supreme Court decisions have reined it in. Inhofe has been a leader in the fight against expansion of the clean water act - especially because of the profound impacts to western states like Oklahoma.
Other Amendments
Senator Inhofe is supporting a number of amendments that will correct bad court decisions and relieve regulatory burdens on rural communities including Hagan/Crapo's permanent fix to the NPDES/FIFRA duplicative permitting, Johann's farm dust bill and many other amendments that will rein in the federal government, save the taxpayers money and ensure economic growth for the future of rural America.
Senator Inhofe is also supporting rural water by co-sponsoring Toomey #2247 - the End Unnecessary Mailers Act - which will save small rural water systems in compliance with SDWA hundreds of dollars a year in printing and mailing costs; and co-sponsoring Wicker #2372 - Grass Roots Rural and small community water system technical assistance, which ensures that small communities served by EPA and USDA rural development get the information and assistance they need in meeting EPA's drinking water requirements.
Diesel Exhaust Declared a Carcinogen
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, on June 12th, classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans. The IARC believes there is sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer. The publication in March 2012 of the results of a large U.S. National Cancer Institute/NIOSH study of occupational exposure of underground miners to diesel exhaust showed an increased risk of death from lung cancer in exposed workers. Gasoline exhaust has been a possible carcinogenic to humans since 1989. OSHA has not established a standard for diesel exhaust as a unique hazard; however, exposures to various chemical components of diesel exhaust are addressed in specific standards for general industry and shipyard employment. After this new advisory, we can expect OSHA to review its current standards.
Next Version of the Internet...
Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, and a founding father of the Internet, discusses the next version of the Internet, IPv6, and why we need it. How are we making space to grow? Clearly the internet needs more IP addresses. How many more, exactly? Well, how about 340 trillion trillion trillion (or, 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)? That's how many addresses the Internet's new "piping," IPv6, can handle. That's a number big enough to give everyone on Earth their own list of billions of IP addresses. Big enough, in other words, to offer the Internet virtually infinite room to grow, from now into the foreseeable future. When is the transition happening? At Google we believe IPv6 is essential to the continued health and growth of the Internet and that by allowing all devices to talk to each other directly, IPv6 enables new innovative services. Replacing the Internet's plumbing will take some time, but the transition has begun. World IPv6 Launch on June 6, 2012, marks the start of a coordinated rollout by major websites and Internet service and equipment providers. Click here for more information.
2012 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.
Welcome Jimmy Sanders, Inc.
It's always great news when you learn a new client is coming onboard. Jimmy Sanders, Inc., one of the most respected names in agriculture in the South, has decided to become a client. The organization is growing and was interested in providing scalable and consistent services to all their locations. We look forward to working with the Jimmy Sanders locations as they settle into the retainer program in July.
Ammonia Technician Course Schedule Announced
The Ammonia Technician Course (ATC) was developed in 2011 and specifically designed for the personnel responsible for the mechanical integrity of the equipment used to store, handle and apply anhydrous ammonia. The hands-on course met with success last year with all 12 classes filling quickly. This course has over $200,000 in equipment in the training room as part of the curriculum. The ATC course schedule has been posted and registrations for the 2012 classes are now underway.
New Class Schedule - New Location - New Instructor
Fourteen classes will be taught at the new Agricenter in Bloomington, Illinois. Craig Dobbins with Craig's Restoration & Repair, LLC in Durant, Iowa will be the lead instructor for this 3-day course. The ATC course was relocated to Bloomington, IL because of its central location. Bloomington is within 4 hours driving distance of 80% of the anhydrous ammonia used in production agriculture. We welcome Craig as our new partner in teaching this course. Craig has valuable experience in the installation, repair, maintenance, inspection and testing of anhydrous ammonia equipment. He is very familiar with the regulations that govern ammonia installations and equipment and will be a valuable addition to our line of Signature Training courses.
Note: ATC is not your typical training on how to safely handle and transfer ammonia. It deals with practically all the components used to store, handle or apply anhydrous ammonia and more importantly, how they work together to provide for a safe, mechanically-sound operation. This training is a must-have if you store or handle anhydrous ammonia at your facility. We recommend that at least one person at each ammonia facility complete this training. Click here to review the schedule and register.
National Safety School 2012 - Register Today!
The National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School will be held in Bloomington, IL this year on August 21 & 22, 2012 at the new Asmark Institute Agricenter. There is a renewed interest and level of energy in the Safety School and we encourage each of our clients to register and participate in this quality program. An outstanding lineup of speakers has been secured for the 2012 program, including Richard Gearheard, President of Crop Production Services, Dr. Fred Whitford, Coordinator of the Purdue Pesticide Programs, Brian Bothast with OSHA and Warren Goetsch, Bureau Chief with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Topics include Building a Safety Culture, a Round Table on NPDES Permits, the ABC's of Trailers and Hitches, OSHA and DOT Hot Topics for 2012, Electrical Safety, OSHA Grain Inspections and Securing Your Business. Updates from industry professionals such as Pam Guffain with TFI, Inspector Ryan Gibson with DHS and George Hess with U.S. EPA, will be included on topics such as Ammonium Nitrate Regulations, CFATS, RMP and more. HAZWOPER emergency response refresher training will also be held in conjunction with the Safety School's activities. To view the agenda and register, please click here.
While in Bloomington that week, we recommend that you stay an extra day to attend the Midwest AG Industries Expo (MAGIE) on August 22 & 23, 2012. It's truly one of the finest displays of "ride and buy" shows in the United States. For more information on registering for MAGIE, click here.
Reminder: HazMat Annual Registration Expires on June 30th
If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by the DOT, they must be registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT). A copy of the current registration must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. You can register and pay the fee online at the DOT's website by clicking here.
DOT Set to Release 2012 ERGs
The 2012 ERG is expected to arrive at Asmark this week. The summary of changes for the 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) has been released by DOT and this typically is followed by the release of the book for distribution. If you have placed your pre-order, we will ship all orders on record within a week of receiving our supply. Asmark Institute is scheduled to receive the delivery of the 2012 ERGs this week.
U.S. DOT Hazmat Safety Tool Now Available
The 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook, which DOT produces for first responders who may encounter accidents or incidents involving hazmat, is now available free online. The guidebook contains an indexed list of dangerous goods and the associated ID number, the general hazards they pose and recommended safety precautions. For example, if emergency responders arrive at the scene of an overturned tractor trailer displaying a DOT hazmat placard, they would use the guide to identify the material associated with the placard and how to respond accordingly. Click here to view the 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook. Click here to view the Intro Video (5 minutes).
Supreme Court Health Care Decision Fires Up America
Immediate reactions to this week's Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are likely a bit premature given the 130-page decision has yet to be fully analyzed, but general reaction to the decision by ag groups pretty much followed the political leanings of the organization. While the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) took a "this still needs to be fixed" position, according to reports, the National Farmers Union (NFU) praised the decision. The issue remains the cost of the overall program, how insurance companies will pass along any increased costs and how employers will react when it comes to hiring. Some say the 50-full-time employee threshold for coverage under ACA means many employers will simply hire more part-time employees, while others contend hiring decisions will be deferred until after the November election. Many legislators have put out releases calling the mandate "the single biggest tax increase in American history." Currently, about 65% of the American public opposes the ACA generally, according to reports.
Congress Restores Hours of Service (HOS) Exception for Agriculture
In what was heralded as good news for the agriculture industry, the U.S. House and Senate came to an agreement last week on the highway transportation bill that contains language that asserts the Hours of Service exception for the delivery of farm supplies and agricultural commodities. This exception has been in jeopardy for the last several years, particularly for delivery of agricultural inputs from wholesale points or terminals to the retail site. For the past 2 years, our industry has been operating under a special waiver for the delivery of anhydrous ammonia from terminals to retail sites. This waiver is set to expire in October 2012.
Of great significance are two items in the bill language: All farm supplies are once again included in the exception, meaning the transportation of other forms of fertilizer can now also utilize the exemption as can agrichemicals. Additionally, the exemption is expanded to a 150 air mile radius from the distribution point, be it a retail or wholesale distribution point. The radius was formerly 100 air miles. The HOS exception is for planting and harvesting seasons as determined by each state.
This great news was made possible by many, many hours of hard work, research, fact finding and negotiation performed by the staff of The Fertilizer Institute, Ag Retailers Association, Agricultural Food Transporters, American Trucking Association and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. There was hardly a more unified effort on behalf of national and state associations working with U.S. DOT and with the congressional delegations to reaffirm the vital need for the HOS exception for agriculture.
EPA's Budget Cut Deeply by FY2013 House Appropriations Bill
The House Appropriations Committee this past week approved its FY2013 Interior-Environment spending bill appropriating $28 billion for the Department of Interior, EPA, the Forest Service and related agencies, and in that package, EPA's budget was slashed 17%. The overall spending level is $1.2 billion below last year's level, and $1.7 billion less than the President requested. Committee action centered on the EPA cuts, including an 80% cut in the Land & Water Conservation Fund; a nearly $800-million cut in the Water State Revolving Fund, and climate change programs were in for a nearly 30% cut. The bill also included a number of policy riders on mine clean-ups and coal-fired utilities designed to prevent EPA from proceeding with rulemakings.
EPA to Host Public Hearing on Aerial Surveillance
Under fire from almost all sides, EPA will hold public meetings in Iowa and Nebraska to answer questions while explaining its use of aerial surveillance as part of feedlot compliance investigations. The hearings were announced shortly after the entire Nebraska congressional delegation sent a letter to EPA asking for an explanation of the EPA fly-overs. When the response from EPA Region 7 didn't satisfy the delegation, Senator Mike Johanns (R, NE) got into dueling Farm Bill amendments on the floor with Senator Barbara Boxer (D, CA) over the value of the flights and whether they should be halted until explanation is forthcoming. Both amendments failed. Producers see the surveillance as an invasion of privacy and unnecessary. EPA says the fly-overs provide evidence of violations, and if evidence is found, an on-ground inspection is ordered. The Nebraska meeting will be held on Monday, July 2nd from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Lexington, NE, at the Holiday Inn Express. The next meeting is in Carroll, IA, and will be held August 30th.
New Indiana Fertilizer Rules Take Effect in 2013
New fertilizer rules are in effect for farmers and fertilizer dealers, regulating how manure and other fertilizers can be staged on farms and applied to fields. The rules are designed to keep fertilizers out of waterways and wells and take effect on February 16, 2013. The Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC) has posted the rules on its website. It will inform licensed fertilizer dealers and private and commercial applicators of the rules by mail. This gives farmers, dealers and applicators one year to comply with the new rules. Matt Pearson, Administrator of the office's fertilizer section, said it is possible some fertilizer dealers and applicators may not know about the rules by the time they take effect. He said the office will take this into consideration.
INDIANA: No Smoking Law Takes Effect July 1st
The new Indiana law prohibits smoking in public places and places of employment. The definition of "place of employment" encompasses only enclosed areas of structures that are places of employment. It does not cover outdoor workers or apply to private vehicles. However, there is nothing in the law that prohibits employers from adopting their own rules and policies regarding workplace smoking, such as prohibiting smoking in parking lots or elsewhere in areas used by the company.
FMCSA - Out of Service Rates for Motor Carriers and Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced changes recently to its policy on calculating driver and vehicle hazardous materials out-of-service (OOS) rates and crash rates. Under FMCSA regulations, a hazardous materials safety permit (HMSP) is required for motor vehicles carrying materials poisonous by inhalation in more than one liter per package in hazard zone A; materials poisonous by inhalation in bulk packages with a capacity of more than 119 gallons in hazard zone B; materials poisonous by inhalation in packaging with a capacity equal to or greater than 3,500 gallons in hazard zone C or D; and, certain explosives. Motor carriers transporting anhydrous ammonia in packaging with a capacity equal to or greater than 3,500 gallons require a safety permit. Anhydrous ammonia is a hazard zone D commodity. Granting a safety permit is based on out-of-service and crash rates.
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and others have been working with FMCSA to change the program, because declining annual rates for hazardous material carriers made it harder to obtain a safety permit. The new changes will provide more certainty to safety permit holders. FMCSA determined that safety will be improved by providing a clearly identifiable standard for industry compliance.
Syngenta Reaches Agreement to Settle Atrazine Lawsuit
On May 24th, Syngenta reached an agreement to settle the lawsuits filed by community water systems regarding the use of atrazine. In a show of support for farmers, ag retailers, distributors and agriculture in general, the settlement releases all entities from liability related to the presence of atrazine in any water supply. Syngenta also acknowledges no liability, based on the fact that the plaintiffs were never able to come up with any scientific evidence regarding their claim that atrazine is not safe when used according to the label. The Illinois Fertilizer and Ag Chemical Association (IFCA), distributors and 50 Illinois ag retailers were involved in the lawsuit, having to produce documents, application records and respond to threats of deposition. For over 8 years this has been dragging on with no indication it was ever going to end. Syngenta agreed to settle for $105 million, with a portion of this money going to the community water systems if they accept the agreement. The settlement also assures that farmers, retailers, distributors and related entities will be released from liability related to the presence of atrazine in any water supply from the labeled use of the product.
The science has always been clear: No one has ever been or could have been exposed to enough atrazine in drinking water to affect their health. It is also clear that atrazine benefits agriculture by up to $3.3 billion annually, reduces soil erosion and supports American jobs.
In the end, this was never about the safety of atrazine. One can understand Syngenta's decision, which had to be extremely difficult to make. This brings closure for Syngenta's customers and the settlement does not impede any future utilization of atrazine according to the label. It is tragic that the judicial system can be manipulated to make unsubstantiated claims against a reputable company and the legal use of a product that has been proven to be safe. Millions were spent in litigation, in the end serving no useful purpose for society as a whole. Special thanks to Jean Payne, IFCA President for providing this article and helping fight this battle.
New Cargo Securement Guide Available
Motor carriers can now use the same load securement tool as law enforcement does. The ultimate guide to make sure your cargo loads are compliant and properly secured is available from ATA Business Solutions for $20. Distributed in collaboration with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, this guidebook is based on the North American Cargo Securement Standards, which serves as the model for the regulations adopted by the United States. This guide is the go-to for the trucking industry for outlining proper cargo securement, providing easy-to-read diagrams, pictures and charts covering the principles of preparing cargo for transport. It covers vehicle requirements for vans and flatbeds, cargo tiedowns, loading and securing all types of freight, inspecting cargo and enforcement and compliance. For more information and ordering, call toll-free 1-866-821-3468 or go to www.ATABusinessSolutions.com.
EPA Publishes New Proposed Air Particulate Standard
Responding to a federal court order that republication of its controversial proposed air particulate standard must happen this year, EPA last week published its new, more restrictive proposal for "fine particles" and "soot," a move that immediately drew fire from industry and praise from environmental groups. The new standard would set the PM 2.5 acceptable level at 12 micrograms per cubic meter; the current standard is 15 micrograms per cubic meter, a level set in 1997. The existing 24-hour fine particle standard and the coarse particulate standards would not change. GOP members of Congress and business groups said the new EPA levels for regulated particulates emanating from refineries, manufacturing plants and auto exhaust is just another Obama Administration/EPA "job killing regulation," and will cause economic slowdowns and job losses in areas of the country where the new standard can't be met. States have until 2020 to comply. The new rule proposal has also been criticized for not revealing the specific studies EPA used to arrive at the new, tighter particulate standard. Representative Ralph Hall (R, TX), Chair of the House Science, Space & Technology Committee, said the proposed rule "appears to be based on secret data that EPA has refused to make public." The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said there are many questions surrounding the process by which EPA selected studies to be used in its calculations.
Inhofe Introduces Amendments to Farm Bill that Rein in EPA
Senator Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, recently introduced a number of amendments to the Farm Bill, which rein in EPA's regulatory burden that is harming farmers and rural communities across America. "The biggest threat to family farmers and rural America is onerous, costly regulations coming out of the EPA," Senator James Inhofe said. "That is why I've introduced amendments to the farm bill that will lessen the regulatory burden for farmers struggling in a tough economy. One amendment eases farmers' compliance with EPA's Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule - a rule that is designed for refineries and major handlers of oil and gas products, not farmers; another amendment provides certainty for rural communities who are grappling with EPA's stated plans to issue new stormwater rules. I am pleased to introduce these amendments and I look forward to working with my colleagues to eliminate some of the pain of EPA's regulations on farmers and rural communities."
Inhofe-Sessions Amendment #2251 on Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC)
This amendment exempts farmers from SPCC regulations for above-ground oil storage tanks that have an aggregate storage capacity of less than 12,000 gallons. In addition to providing this exemption, it also allows all farmers who are regulated to self-certify their own plans. This will dramatically decrease costs by eliminating the need to hire a professional engineer - of which there are very few available to farmers to complete these plans. There is virtually no history of oil spills from agricultural operations and farms simply do not pose the risks of potential spills that other sectors do.
Inhofe-Vitter Amendment #2250 on Stormwater Regulations
This amendment will provide certainty for rural communities struggling with EPA's stated plan to impose new stormwater regulations. It will ensure that EPA keeps its word and fully evaluates the current stormwater regulatory situation - what practices work and don't work, what the costs and benefits are to cities and counties - before imposing new, uncertain and costly stormwater rules that can hurt rural communities. In EPA's current stormwater regulations, the agency committed to completing an evaluation of the current rule - this amendment prevents EPA from issuing any new regulations until that evaluation is completed. It simply ensures that EPA follows its own regulations and guidance.
Inhofe Amendment #2249 - Block Grant the Food Stamp Program
In addition to the two amendments reining in EPA, Senator Inhofe also introduced an amendment that would repeal the current mandatory food stamp program and replace it with a discretionary block grant, with money going to states to design and run their own nutrition assistance programs. Because states know the needs of their people much more intimately than the federal government ever will, they can design their nutrition assistance programs in whatever way makes sense for them. It gets the federal government out of the food stamp business altogether and empowers states to design and run their own programs.
Barrasso-Inhofe Amendment #2165
Senator Inhofe is co-sponsoring an amendment version of S. 2245, the Preserve the Waters of the US Bill. This bill will prevent EPA from issuing guidance that will fundamentally change the scope of the Clean Water Act - pushing it well beyond the limits that the Supreme Court decisions have reined it in. Inhofe has been a leader in the fight against expansion of the clean water act - especially because of the profound impacts to western states like Oklahoma.
Other Amendments
Senator Inhofe is supporting a number of amendments that will correct bad court decisions and relieve regulatory burdens on rural communities including Hagan/Crapo's permanent fix to the NPDES/FIFRA duplicative permitting, Johann's farm dust bill and many other amendments that will rein in the federal government, save the taxpayers money and ensure economic growth for the future of rural America.
Senator Inhofe is also supporting rural water by co-sponsoring Toomey #2247 - the End Unnecessary Mailers Act - which will save small rural water systems in compliance with SDWA hundreds of dollars a year in printing and mailing costs; and co-sponsoring Wicker #2372 - Grass Roots Rural and small community water system technical assistance, which ensures that small communities served by EPA and USDA rural development get the information and assistance they need in meeting EPA's drinking water requirements.
Diesel Exhaust Declared a Carcinogen
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, on June 12th, classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans. The IARC believes there is sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer. The publication in March 2012 of the results of a large U.S. National Cancer Institute/NIOSH study of occupational exposure of underground miners to diesel exhaust showed an increased risk of death from lung cancer in exposed workers. Gasoline exhaust has been a possible carcinogenic to humans since 1989. OSHA has not established a standard for diesel exhaust as a unique hazard; however, exposures to various chemical components of diesel exhaust are addressed in specific standards for general industry and shipyard employment. After this new advisory, we can expect OSHA to review its current standards.
Next Version of the Internet...
Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, and a founding father of the Internet, discusses the next version of the Internet, IPv6, and why we need it. How are we making space to grow? Clearly the internet needs more IP addresses. How many more, exactly? Well, how about 340 trillion trillion trillion (or, 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)? That's how many addresses the Internet's new "piping," IPv6, can handle. That's a number big enough to give everyone on Earth their own list of billions of IP addresses. Big enough, in other words, to offer the Internet virtually infinite room to grow, from now into the foreseeable future. When is the transition happening? At Google we believe IPv6 is essential to the continued health and growth of the Internet and that by allowing all devices to talk to each other directly, IPv6 enables new innovative services. Replacing the Internet's plumbing will take some time, but the transition has begun. World IPv6 Launch on June 6, 2012, marks the start of a coordinated rollout by major websites and Internet service and equipment providers. Click here for more information.
2012 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.