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Newsletter
Volume 105
August 1, 2012
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.
Billy Pirkle Testifies on the Impact of EPA's Regulatory Overreach
Billy Pirkle Testifies
As Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) led today's hearing and visited with ARA Chairman Billy Pirkle (right) after the meeting.
Many agricultural retailers feel the impact and expense of unnecessary and burdensome regulations on a daily basis. A growing number of these regulations are the result of recent actions taken by EPA. On July 19th, Billy Pirkle addressed several of these regulations and their negative impact on the U.S. agriculture industry and economy at a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Pirkle is the Senior Director for Environmental, Health and Safety for Crop Production Services and serves as Chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA). He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Asmark Institute and the National Safety School.
One of the first issues Pirkle raised before the House Committee was EPA's decision to counteract a longstanding regulatory exemption for agricultural retailers and support the decision of the agency's Region 4 office. Region 4 began issuing citations to agricultural retail facilities for failure to report under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), when fertilizer was blended at the retail facility. The EPCRA statute actually applies to those who manufacture fertilizer and specifically exempts "fertilizer held for sale by a retailer to the ultimate consumer." However, now EPA stated that custom blending of fertilizer was the same as manufacturing fertilizer.
"Nearly all agricultural retailers custom blend types of fertilizer at the retail site for farmer customers because farmers do not have the equipment to blend in the field. Furthermore, blending fertilizer is a different process than manufacturing fertilizer," explained Pirkle in his testimony. "In 1987, EPA concluded that Congress's intent with EPCRA was to exempt a retail facility from these provisions because the general public was already aware of the retail sale and application of fertilizers."
Pirkle also explained that if a retailer had to meet all EPCRA reporting requirements, their permitting requirements under other environmental laws could also change. Trying to comply with all these requirements could cost a retailer an additional $30,000 per year, plus a $6,000 annual update.
Another key issue Pirkle addressed in his testimony was the requirement that pesticide applicators obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Clean Water Act (CWA) permit to conduct any pesticide applications. Pirkle explained that this is unnecessary since pesticides are already evaluated thoroughly by EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The pesticide label, which includes use instructions for different crops, geographic regions and weather conditions, is approved by EPA, and the instructions are based on mountains of health and environmental data.
"A new NPDES permitting system would result in little to no environmental benefit, but could cost the industry millions of dollars to comply with these new requirements and leave commercial applicators and their farmer customers vulnerable to citizen suits," stated Pirkle. "Legislation has been introduced called the 'Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act' (H.R. 872) that would exempt FIFRA-compliant pesticide applications from CWA permitting requirements."
The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act is currently part of the House version of the Farm Bill. Pirkle explained to the Committee that it is critical for the House to take action on the 2012 Farm Bill prior to the upcoming August recess to allow time to complete negotiations with the Senate on a final conference agreement.
In Pirkle's role at CPS, he works with his company's staff and management to give direction for the regulatory support and oversight of regulatory programs for all of the company's retail operations. His first-hand experience and regulatory knowledge made his testimony to the House Committee extremely valuable.
Other examples of EPA's Regulatory Overreach that Pirkle mentioned in his testimony included the proposed spray drift guidance document that changes the legal standard found in FIFRA to an essentially zero-tolerance spray drift standard and the regulation on dust emissions, along with other key issues under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
In conclusion, Pirkle spoke on behalf of agricultural retailers asking Congress to hold regular oversight hearings regarding federal agency regulatory and enforcement activities. He also requested that Congress take necessary legislative action to prevent EPA from over-reaching its statutory authorities in the areas highlighted in his testimony. Click here to read Pirkle's complete written testimony.
Ohio EPA Assesses Fee Based on RMP
We have learned that EPA in the state of Ohio is sending out invoices the week of July 30th for the new RMP fees. The new fee will be due September 1, 2012. If your facility meets the definition of a small business and the Ohio EPA has this determination on record, then you may not receive an invoice. Risk Management Program fees are based on the RMP that is on file as of June 2012. Therefore, if your facility did not deregister or remove chemicals in the plan prior to July 1st, a fee will be assessed for this year. The fees for each facility will be a $50 registration fee, in addition to the following applicable fees:
  • $200 for each RMP regulated substance over the threshold quantity.
  • $65 if a covered process includes anhydrous ammonia that is sold for use as an agricultural nutrient (if the ammonia is used or sold for use other than as an agricultural nutrient, then the fee assessed will be $200). Therefore, agricultural retailers who sell anhydrous ammonia (and are not a "small business") will be invoiced $115.
  • $65 for propane, if propane is the only RMP regulated substance at the facility over the threshold quantity.
Facilities that meet the definition of a "small business" are exempt from RMP fees. Small business is defined as independently owned and operated with less than 100 full-time employees. Employees must be included from all sites owned and operated by the owner/operator.
Ohio EPA offers this guidance for facilities in reviewing their invoice: If your fee was calculated incorrectly, please make the changes on the yellow sheet and return the entire invoice with a check in the correct amount. If you were billed and your facility meets the definition of a small business, write an explanation on the invoice and do not include a check. Please ensure that the bottom portion of the yellow sheet is included with the check, otherwise you may not receive proper credit for payment. Return the check and invoice to: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Lazarus Government Center, Office of Fiscal Administration, 50 West Town Street, Suite 700, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049. If you have questions, please call Kim Joseph at 614-644-2187 or Sherri Swihart at 614-644-3594.
DOT Releases 2012 ERGs
A truckload of 2012 ERGs were received on July 3rd and shipped out to our clients who pre-ordered on July 5th, thanks to a very organized and dedicated staff. If you pre-ordered, you should feel pretty good about the $1.25 cost of the little books as we are seeing the typical retail cost being advertised anywhere from $3.25 to $4.50. Just a reminder.....don't forget to place a copy in each one of your vehicles that will be used to transport a DOT-regulated hazardous material.
EPA Issues Final Rule for EPCRA Section 312 Reporting Forms
EPA published in the Federal Register a final rule on July 13th revising existing elements and adding new data elements to the Tier I and Tier II forms, for purposes of the Emergency Preparedness and Community Right to Know (EPCRA) Section 312. The rule becomes effective on January 1, 2014. Specifically, EPA made the following amendments to the forms for which compliance is mandatory:
  • Reporting the facility's latitude and longitude and the identification numbers assigned under TRI and RMP, if applicable;
  • Indicating if the location where the hazardous chemicals are stored is manned or unmanned;
  • Reporting the maximum number of occupants that may be present at the facility at any one time;
  • Providing contact information for the facility emergency coordinator, as well as the email addresses of the owner and operator and emergency contact(s);
  • Providing emergency coordinator contact information for facilities subject to EPCRA Section 302;
  • Identifying if the facility is subject to EPCRA Section 302 or CAA Section 112's risk management program (RMP);
  • Adding separate data fields for reporting pure chemicals and mixtures in the chemical reporting section of the Tier II inventory forms;
  • Providing a description of the storage types and conditions; and
  • Including a separate section on the Tier II inventory forms for the reporting of any additional state or local reporting requirements, or for voluntarily reporting any hazardous chemicals present at the facility, but below the reporting thresholds.
In addition, EPA made the following amendments to the forms for which compliance is optional:
  • Providing the facility phone number; and
  • Providing the parent company contact information.
Note: The Asmark Institute has been following this rule for quite some time and will incorporate it into our system on October 15, 2013 in time for the annual compliance visits.
DOT Outlines CSA's Safety Benefits to Congressional Committee
On July 11, 2012, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott testified about the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program before the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Small Business. Deputy Bronrott's written testimony discusses CSA's safety benefits and its impact on small businesses, and is posted on FMCSA's Website. Some of the key points of the testimony are listed below:
  • Independent analysis indicates the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) is a significant improvement over prior systems to effectively meet FMCSA's Congressional mandate to investigate high-risk carriers.
  • The CSA SMS is effectively monitoring the motor carrier industry. The 200,000 carriers with sufficient data to be scored in the SMS are involved in 93% of the crashes reported to FMCSA.
  • The CSA SMS is not biased against small business. While carriers with 5 or less power units make up over 85% of the industry, 93% of these small carriers do not score poorly in any area of the SMS.
  • Analysis of the CSA interventions model demonstrated an overall 35% increase in the number of carriers reached per Safety Investigator. CSA uses Onsite Focused Investigations and warning letters, which are effective in improving compliance and less intrusive and time-consuming for motor carriers.
  • From CSA rollout in December 2010 until the end of 2011, violations per roadside inspection declined by 8% and driver violations per inspection declined by 12%. This the most significant improvement in violation rates in the last 10 years.
The Agency was called on to report on CSA's progress against a growing outcry of inaccurate, mismanaged and biased data by motor carriers.
States Could 'Opt Out' of Burdensome Farm Rules Under New Bill
A bill that would allow states to opt out of regulations under the Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) if rules were deemed to be "overly burdensome" to farmers, ranchers and other ag producers, was introduced late last week by Representative Ann Marie Buerkle (R, NY). Under Buerkle's bill, if the governor or "state chief executive officer" found the regulations burdensome to farmers they could specify which rules their state would ignore. "EPA has been issuing rules and regulations at an alarming rate over the past several years," Buerkle said. "This relentless activity has hurt many farmers and other agricultural producers across the U.S. who are struggling to keep up with the government's... intrusion." Buerkle is expected to offer her bill as an amendment to the Farm Bill if it ever gets to the floor.
Iowa Develops Voluntary Guidelines for Two-tank Anhydrous Ammonia Wagons
Each year in Iowa, approximately a billion pounds of nitrogen is applied as anhydrous ammonia. As equipment has gotten larger, many dealers are now using multi-tank systems with two anhydrous ammonia tanks mounted on to a single wagon running gear. With anhydrous ammonia under pressure, safety is always a concern when plumbing and working around application equipment. "Plumbing for a multi-tank system presents unique challenges," according to Mark Hanna, Iowa State University Extension Ag Engineer. "Valve location and selection are important decisions impacting safe use. As an example, valves meant to provide excess-flow protection should not be oversized."
A new set of voluntary guidelines for plumbing multi-tank anhydrous ammonia systems has been recently developed by a coalition of state government, academia and industry representatives. "As the use of multi-tank systems increases, tank owners should benefit by having these voluntary guidelines. These suggestions from government, academia and industry experts should help applicators review their practices," said Max Smith, Smith Fertilizer and Grain, Knoxville, Iowa. "Safety is an important component in maintaining the anhydrous ammonia application industry for Iowa corn production," according to Kevin Klommhaus, Feed and Fertilizer Bureau Chief at IDALS. Click here for a copy of the new voluntary guidelines.
KENTUCKY (and others): Don't be fooled ... changes to posters are not mandatory
If you receive a promotion or notice letting you know that mandatory changes have been made to several of your Kentucky labor law posters, please be aware that this is not accurate. Several insignificant and non-mandatory changes have been made to the following:
  • Workers' Compensation Notice - updated state seal image
  • Kentucky Wage and Hour - rewrite of minor text in the overtime section
  • Wage Discrimination Because of Sex - addition of a phone number and website
Once again, these changes are not mandatory and there is no reason to update your labor law posters. This warning applies to other states as well throughout the years. There seems to be no shortage of publishers that border on unscrupulous when misleading the public in order to make a sale.
Kansas Seeks Solution to Bulk Ammonia Storage Data Plate Concerns
The Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA) and the Kansas Cooperative Council (KCC) staff have held ongoing discussions with the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) regarding regulatory concerns over bulk anhydrous ammonia tanks that have an insufficient data plate (railcar tanks, missing or illegible data plates, and tanks with less than 250 psi). Discussions with KDA have been based on feedback and input from a representative stakeholder group, comprised of both KARA and KCC members. Suggested solutions include both replacement time periods and reasonable testing procedures. KDA continues to express interest in securing public safety and providing an economically viable solution for Kansas agribusiness. KDA has exempted tanks with these concerns from complying with the emergency shutoff valve deadline and allowed for continued usage of these tanks through December 2012.
KDA Enforcement on Anhydrous Nurse Tanks and Emergency Shut-Offs
Anhydrous Ammonia Nurse Tanks
  • The nurse tank marking requirements contained in KAR 4-10-4b will be enforced by the Kansas Department of Agriculture starting July 1, 2012. The requirements were to become effective March 12, 2012, but the compliance enforcement was extended to the July 1, 2012 date.
  • KDA has instructed program staff to issue a stop use order for any nurse tank found to be out of compliance with these marking requirements.
  • KDA will only be issuing the stop use orders and not a corrective action statement, thus you will not be able to continue use of nurse tanks not properly marked.
  • Where a stop use order is issued, the facility should expect a re-inspection within 30 days.
  • If upon re-inspection any improperly marked nurse tanks are found to be in service, KDA staff is directed to document with pictures and then prepare the case for enforcement action.
Emergency Shut-Offs - Permanent Storage
  • K.A.R. 4-10-2e(c) requires an emergency shutoff as defined by K.A.R. 4-10-1(l) to be installed on each anhydrous ammonia permanent storage container by July 1, 2012.
  • Due to unresolved issues with rail car storage tanks, storage tanks with missing or illegible data plates and storage tanks with data plates indicating working pressures less than 250 psig, KDA has exempted these tanks from the emergency shutoff requirement until these issues are resolved.
  • After July 1, 2012, a stop use order will be issued for any storage tank, other than those noted as exempted in bullet point above, not having the required emergency shutoff installed.
  • The stop use order will only apply to the noncompliant storage tank, not the entire facility.
  • A corrective action statement will not be issued to permit continued use of the noncompliant tank. However, a noncompliant storage tank may be emptied, but no additional product may be added.
  • Facilities should inform KDA when the tank is brought back into compliance so that the stop use order may be lifted.
  • If the stop use order hasn't been lifted, the facility can expect a re-inspection within 30 days.
  • If upon re-inspection, any nonexempt storage tank without the required emergency shutoff is found to be in service, KDA staff is directed to document with pictures and then prepare the case for an enforcement action.
Note: KARA should be contacted with any feedback you may have on this issue. They have been working diligently on this issue for some time.
Legal Electronic Signatures Becoming More Readily Available
One new version of Adobe Reader X features a new function in the top right corner that reads "Sign." When used on a smartphone or tablet, eSignature will allow the user to sign on the dotted line. On the desktop, the user can insert a saved signature, which can either be created using a service like MyLiveSignature or My Free Signature Maker. Electronic signatures are covered legally under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) of 1999, which legally recognized electronic signatures as valid. This allows eSignatures to be covered in legal documents in all states but New York, Washington State and Illinois, in which UETA is not yet acknowledged. These states have their own digital signature laws. UETA also specifies that if a law exists that requires a signature, an electronic signature will satisfy that requirement. This gives signers the confidence of knowing a digitally signed document is as legally valid as a document signed the old-fashioned way. It stands to save small businesses time and money, allowing owners to dispose of old fax machines and save on postage. Note: The Asmark Institute has been working for several years now on a system to facilitate the signing and return of certain documents such as driver qualification files. Each year new technology becomes more readily available and more reasonable in cost. Stay tuned!
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.
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.
Billy Pirkle Testifies on the Impact of EPA's Regulatory Overreach
Billy Pirkle Testifies
As Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) led today's hearing and visited with ARA Chairman Billy Pirkle (right) after the meeting.
Many agricultural retailers feel the impact and expense of unnecessary and burdensome regulations on a daily basis. A growing number of these regulations are the result of recent actions taken by EPA. On July 19th, Billy Pirkle addressed several of these regulations and their negative impact on the U.S. agriculture industry and economy at a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Pirkle is the Senior Director for Environmental, Health and Safety for Crop Production Services and serves as Chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA). He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Asmark Institute and the National Safety School.
One of the first issues Pirkle raised before the House Committee was EPA's decision to counteract a longstanding regulatory exemption for agricultural retailers and support the decision of the agency's Region 4 office. Region 4 began issuing citations to agricultural retail facilities for failure to report under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), when fertilizer was blended at the retail facility. The EPCRA statute actually applies to those who manufacture fertilizer and specifically exempts "fertilizer held for sale by a retailer to the ultimate consumer." However, now EPA stated that custom blending of fertilizer was the same as manufacturing fertilizer.
"Nearly all agricultural retailers custom blend types of fertilizer at the retail site for farmer customers because farmers do not have the equipment to blend in the field. Furthermore, blending fertilizer is a different process than manufacturing fertilizer," explained Pirkle in his testimony. "In 1987, EPA concluded that Congress's intent with EPCRA was to exempt a retail facility from these provisions because the general public was already aware of the retail sale and application of fertilizers."
Pirkle also explained that if a retailer had to meet all EPCRA reporting requirements, their permitting requirements under other environmental laws could also change. Trying to comply with all these requirements could cost a retailer an additional $30,000 per year, plus a $6,000 annual update.
Another key issue Pirkle addressed in his testimony was the requirement that pesticide applicators obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Clean Water Act (CWA) permit to conduct any pesticide applications. Pirkle explained that this is unnecessary since pesticides are already evaluated thoroughly by EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The pesticide label, which includes use instructions for different crops, geographic regions and weather conditions, is approved by EPA, and the instructions are based on mountains of health and environmental data.
"A new NPDES permitting system would result in little to no environmental benefit, but could cost the industry millions of dollars to comply with these new requirements and leave commercial applicators and their farmer customers vulnerable to citizen suits," stated Pirkle. "Legislation has been introduced called the 'Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act' (H.R. 872) that would exempt FIFRA-compliant pesticide applications from CWA permitting requirements."
The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act is currently part of the House version of the Farm Bill. Pirkle explained to the Committee that it is critical for the House to take action on the 2012 Farm Bill prior to the upcoming August recess to allow time to complete negotiations with the Senate on a final conference agreement.
In Pirkle's role at CPS, he works with his company's staff and management to give direction for the regulatory support and oversight of regulatory programs for all of the company's retail operations. His first-hand experience and regulatory knowledge made his testimony to the House Committee extremely valuable.
Other examples of EPA's Regulatory Overreach that Pirkle mentioned in his testimony included the proposed spray drift guidance document that changes the legal standard found in FIFRA to an essentially zero-tolerance spray drift standard and the regulation on dust emissions, along with other key issues under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
In conclusion, Pirkle spoke on behalf of agricultural retailers asking Congress to hold regular oversight hearings regarding federal agency regulatory and enforcement activities. He also requested that Congress take necessary legislative action to prevent EPA from over-reaching its statutory authorities in the areas highlighted in his testimony. Click here to read Pirkle's complete written testimony.
Ohio EPA Assesses Fee Based on RMP
We have learned that EPA in the state of Ohio is sending out invoices the week of July 30th for the new RMP fees. The new fee will be due September 1, 2012. If your facility meets the definition of a small business and the Ohio EPA has this determination on record, then you may not receive an invoice. Risk Management Program fees are based on the RMP that is on file as of June 2012. Therefore, if your facility did not deregister or remove chemicals in the plan prior to July 1st, a fee will be assessed for this year. The fees for each facility will be a $50 registration fee, in addition to the following applicable fees:
  • $200 for each RMP regulated substance over the threshold quantity.
  • $65 if a covered process includes anhydrous ammonia that is sold for use as an agricultural nutrient (if the ammonia is used or sold for use other than as an agricultural nutrient, then the fee assessed will be $200). Therefore, agricultural retailers who sell anhydrous ammonia (and are not a "small business") will be invoiced $115.
  • $65 for propane, if propane is the only RMP regulated substance at the facility over the threshold quantity.
Facilities that meet the definition of a "small business" are exempt from RMP fees. Small business is defined as independently owned and operated with less than 100 full-time employees. Employees must be included from all sites owned and operated by the owner/operator.
Ohio EPA offers this guidance for facilities in reviewing their invoice: If your fee was calculated incorrectly, please make the changes on the yellow sheet and return the entire invoice with a check in the correct amount. If you were billed and your facility meets the definition of a small business, write an explanation on the invoice and do not include a check. Please ensure that the bottom portion of the yellow sheet is included with the check, otherwise you may not receive proper credit for payment. Return the check and invoice to: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Lazarus Government Center, Office of Fiscal Administration, 50 West Town Street, Suite 700, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049. If you have questions, please call Kim Joseph at 614-644-2187 or Sherri Swihart at 614-644-3594.
DOT Releases 2012 ERGs
A truckload of 2012 ERGs were received on July 3rd and shipped out to our clients who pre-ordered on July 5th, thanks to a very organized and dedicated staff. If you pre-ordered, you should feel pretty good about the $1.25 cost of the little books as we are seeing the typical retail cost being advertised anywhere from $3.25 to $4.50. Just a reminder.....don't forget to place a copy in each one of your vehicles that will be used to transport a DOT-regulated hazardous material.
EPA Issues Final Rule for EPCRA Section 312 Reporting Forms
EPA published in the Federal Register a final rule on July 13th revising existing elements and adding new data elements to the Tier I and Tier II forms, for purposes of the Emergency Preparedness and Community Right to Know (EPCRA) Section 312. The rule becomes effective on January 1, 2014. Specifically, EPA made the following amendments to the forms for which compliance is mandatory:
  • Reporting the facility's latitude and longitude and the identification numbers assigned under TRI and RMP, if applicable;
  • Indicating if the location where the hazardous chemicals are stored is manned or unmanned;
  • Reporting the maximum number of occupants that may be present at the facility at any one time;
  • Providing contact information for the facility emergency coordinator, as well as the email addresses of the owner and operator and emergency contact(s);
  • Providing emergency coordinator contact information for facilities subject to EPCRA Section 302;
  • Identifying if the facility is subject to EPCRA Section 302 or CAA Section 112's risk management program (RMP);
  • Adding separate data fields for reporting pure chemicals and mixtures in the chemical reporting section of the Tier II inventory forms;
  • Providing a description of the storage types and conditions; and
  • Including a separate section on the Tier II inventory forms for the reporting of any additional state or local reporting requirements, or for voluntarily reporting any hazardous chemicals present at the facility, but below the reporting thresholds.
In addition, EPA made the following amendments to the forms for which compliance is optional:
  • Providing the facility phone number; and
  • Providing the parent company contact information.
Note: The Asmark Institute has been following this rule for quite some time and will incorporate it into our system on October 15, 2013 in time for the annual compliance visits.
DOT Outlines CSA's Safety Benefits to Congressional Committee
On July 11, 2012, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott testified about the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program before the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Small Business. Deputy Bronrott's written testimony discusses CSA's safety benefits and its impact on small businesses, and is posted on FMCSA's Website. Some of the key points of the testimony are listed below:
  • Independent analysis indicates the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) is a significant improvement over prior systems to effectively meet FMCSA's Congressional mandate to investigate high-risk carriers.
  • The CSA SMS is effectively monitoring the motor carrier industry. The 200,000 carriers with sufficient data to be scored in the SMS are involved in 93% of the crashes reported to FMCSA.
  • The CSA SMS is not biased against small business. While carriers with 5 or less power units make up over 85% of the industry, 93% of these small carriers do not score poorly in any area of the SMS.
  • Analysis of the CSA interventions model demonstrated an overall 35% increase in the number of carriers reached per Safety Investigator. CSA uses Onsite Focused Investigations and warning letters, which are effective in improving compliance and less intrusive and time-consuming for motor carriers.
  • From CSA rollout in December 2010 until the end of 2011, violations per roadside inspection declined by 8% and driver violations per inspection declined by 12%. This the most significant improvement in violation rates in the last 10 years.
The Agency was called on to report on CSA's progress against a growing outcry of inaccurate, mismanaged and biased data by motor carriers.
States Could 'Opt Out' of Burdensome Farm Rules Under New Bill
A bill that would allow states to opt out of regulations under the Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) if rules were deemed to be "overly burdensome" to farmers, ranchers and other ag producers, was introduced late last week by Representative Ann Marie Buerkle (R, NY). Under Buerkle's bill, if the governor or "state chief executive officer" found the regulations burdensome to farmers they could specify which rules their state would ignore. "EPA has been issuing rules and regulations at an alarming rate over the past several years," Buerkle said. "This relentless activity has hurt many farmers and other agricultural producers across the U.S. who are struggling to keep up with the government's... intrusion." Buerkle is expected to offer her bill as an amendment to the Farm Bill if it ever gets to the floor.
Iowa Develops Voluntary Guidelines for Two-tank Anhydrous Ammonia Wagons
Each year in Iowa, approximately a billion pounds of nitrogen is applied as anhydrous ammonia. As equipment has gotten larger, many dealers are now using multi-tank systems with two anhydrous ammonia tanks mounted on to a single wagon running gear. With anhydrous ammonia under pressure, safety is always a concern when plumbing and working around application equipment. "Plumbing for a multi-tank system presents unique challenges," according to Mark Hanna, Iowa State University Extension Ag Engineer. "Valve location and selection are important decisions impacting safe use. As an example, valves meant to provide excess-flow protection should not be oversized."
A new set of voluntary guidelines for plumbing multi-tank anhydrous ammonia systems has been recently developed by a coalition of state government, academia and industry representatives. "As the use of multi-tank systems increases, tank owners should benefit by having these voluntary guidelines. These suggestions from government, academia and industry experts should help applicators review their practices," said Max Smith, Smith Fertilizer and Grain, Knoxville, Iowa. "Safety is an important component in maintaining the anhydrous ammonia application industry for Iowa corn production," according to Kevin Klommhaus, Feed and Fertilizer Bureau Chief at IDALS. Click here for a copy of the new voluntary guidelines.
KENTUCKY (and others): Don't be fooled ... changes to posters are not mandatory
If you receive a promotion or notice letting you know that mandatory changes have been made to several of your Kentucky labor law posters, please be aware that this is not accurate. Several insignificant and non-mandatory changes have been made to the following:
  • Workers' Compensation Notice - updated state seal image
  • Kentucky Wage and Hour - rewrite of minor text in the overtime section
  • Wage Discrimination Because of Sex - addition of a phone number and website
Once again, these changes are not mandatory and there is no reason to update your labor law posters. This warning applies to other states as well throughout the years. There seems to be no shortage of publishers that border on unscrupulous when misleading the public in order to make a sale.
Kansas Seeks Solution to Bulk Ammonia Storage Data Plate Concerns
The Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA) and the Kansas Cooperative Council (KCC) staff have held ongoing discussions with the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) regarding regulatory concerns over bulk anhydrous ammonia tanks that have an insufficient data plate (railcar tanks, missing or illegible data plates, and tanks with less than 250 psi). Discussions with KDA have been based on feedback and input from a representative stakeholder group, comprised of both KARA and KCC members. Suggested solutions include both replacement time periods and reasonable testing procedures. KDA continues to express interest in securing public safety and providing an economically viable solution for Kansas agribusiness. KDA has exempted tanks with these concerns from complying with the emergency shutoff valve deadline and allowed for continued usage of these tanks through December 2012.
KDA Enforcement on Anhydrous Nurse Tanks and Emergency Shut-Offs
Anhydrous Ammonia Nurse Tanks
  • The nurse tank marking requirements contained in KAR 4-10-4b will be enforced by the Kansas Department of Agriculture starting July 1, 2012. The requirements were to become effective March 12, 2012, but the compliance enforcement was extended to the July 1, 2012 date.
  • KDA has instructed program staff to issue a stop use order for any nurse tank found to be out of compliance with these marking requirements.
  • KDA will only be issuing the stop use orders and not a corrective action statement, thus you will not be able to continue use of nurse tanks not properly marked.
  • Where a stop use order is issued, the facility should expect a re-inspection within 30 days.
  • If upon re-inspection any improperly marked nurse tanks are found to be in service, KDA staff is directed to document with pictures and then prepare the case for enforcement action.
Emergency Shut-Offs - Permanent Storage
  • K.A.R. 4-10-2e(c) requires an emergency shutoff as defined by K.A.R. 4-10-1(l) to be installed on each anhydrous ammonia permanent storage container by July 1, 2012.
  • Due to unresolved issues with rail car storage tanks, storage tanks with missing or illegible data plates and storage tanks with data plates indicating working pressures less than 250 psig, KDA has exempted these tanks from the emergency shutoff requirement until these issues are resolved.
  • After July 1, 2012, a stop use order will be issued for any storage tank, other than those noted as exempted in bullet point above, not having the required emergency shutoff installed.
  • The stop use order will only apply to the noncompliant storage tank, not the entire facility.
  • A corrective action statement will not be issued to permit continued use of the noncompliant tank. However, a noncompliant storage tank may be emptied, but no additional product may be added.
  • Facilities should inform KDA when the tank is brought back into compliance so that the stop use order may be lifted.
  • If the stop use order hasn't been lifted, the facility can expect a re-inspection within 30 days.
  • If upon re-inspection, any nonexempt storage tank without the required emergency shutoff is found to be in service, KDA staff is directed to document with pictures and then prepare the case for an enforcement action.
Note: KARA should be contacted with any feedback you may have on this issue. They have been working diligently on this issue for some time.
Legal Electronic Signatures Becoming More Readily Available
One new version of Adobe Reader X features a new function in the top right corner that reads "Sign." When used on a smartphone or tablet, eSignature will allow the user to sign on the dotted line. On the desktop, the user can insert a saved signature, which can either be created using a service like MyLiveSignature or My Free Signature Maker. Electronic signatures are covered legally under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) of 1999, which legally recognized electronic signatures as valid. This allows eSignatures to be covered in legal documents in all states but New York, Washington State and Illinois, in which UETA is not yet acknowledged. These states have their own digital signature laws. UETA also specifies that if a law exists that requires a signature, an electronic signature will satisfy that requirement. This gives signers the confidence of knowing a digitally signed document is as legally valid as a document signed the old-fashioned way. It stands to save small businesses time and money, allowing owners to dispose of old fax machines and save on postage. Note: The Asmark Institute has been working for several years now on a system to facilitate the signing and return of certain documents such as driver qualification files. Each year new technology becomes more readily available and more reasonable in cost. Stay tuned!
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.