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Newsletter
Volume 78
May 3, 2010
Our best wishes and prayers go to all who are affected by the extreme weather, especially the current floods in recent days. Such weather events at this particular time of the spring season and over such a large territory of the United States, is a national tragedy. Many of the crops already planted across the affected areas have been damaged or even destroyed, and the prospects of finishing this planting season in a somewhat normal manner seems slim at this point. Fortunately, the agricultural industry is a close-knit community supported by eternal optimism, and spirits will raise once the rain is gone and we can return to the fields. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, especially this spring season!
New & Improved...Coming Soon!
New & Improved
Work is underway on several fronts that will be launched in October 2010. The Asmark Institute website is undergoing an extensive review. The review was prompted by ideas and comments from the Performance Evaluations completed by clients this past winter. Overall, more than 80 improvements are being made to the website this year. For the first time, clients will have a choice of selecting to participate in the new Electronic Service Program (ESP) that will provide the infrastructure to correspond electronically. ESP will be a choice, not a mandate, so the traditional method of correspondence will continue to be offered. Other new website improvements include the acceptance of the FireFox browser in addition to Internet Explorer, new record archival, better data validation, introduction of Snapshots 2.0 management dashboard and a host of improvements such as new technology sprinkled throughout the website that will make it more effective and user-friendly. Additionally, infrastructure improvements are being made to databases and hardware that will increase bandwidth, maximize server power and support the increase in data storage capacity. This will result in a faster, more streamlined and powerful website for our clients.
DHS - Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) Alert
The Asmark Institute joins the Agricultural Security Working Group (ASWG), which includes the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), CropLife America (CLA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) in alerting all members and users of the Asmark SVA for Agricultural Retailers of recent DHS activity. The Asmark SVA methodology was determined to be in compliance with the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) on January 27, 2003, prior to DHS or the CFATS rule. When CFATS regulations were developed, DHS developed its own SVA.
Previously, the ASWG had been told by DHS that our SVA tool would be acceptable for use with Tier 4
facilities. This appears to remain true for the SVA requirements, but we have recently learned that only partial acceptance is likely as an Alternative Security Plan (ASP). We believe this is due to a shift in the policy by DHS. Upon recent discussions with DHS, our SVA tool may provide only limited amounts of data necessary for submission to DHS.
In further discussions with DHS, we were informed that no SVA, other than DHS's SVA will provide complete assurance that all data requirements are met. Other associations that developed industry SVAs have experienced similar issues. To help alleviate confusion and save time for our members during this busy spring season, we recommend that members utilize the DHS version of the SVA to achieve compliance with CFATS. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact either ARA, TFI, CLA or the Asmark Institute.
CFATS Update
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on April 30th that it issued letters to 506 facilities regarding their final tier ranking. DHS further announced that 446 of the 506 facilities are unregulated. The majority of the April 3th notifications were Tier 4 under a preliminary designation. To date, DHS has issued 3,804 final tier rankings and 1,529 preliminary tier rankings.
DHS Personnel Surety Program
DHS published a Federal Register notice dated April 13, 2010, requesting additional comments on the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Personnel Surety Program. Comments are due by May 13th. The new program is garnering much criticism from the regulated community due to its redundancy and lack of reciprocity between federal government databases used to credential employees for security purposes, many of which, come under the control of DHS. CFATS requires covered facilities to submit information about personnel, including unescorted visitors with access to restricted areas or critical assets. The information submitted will be reviewed against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB, individuals with terrorist ties). Currently, high risk facilities must conduct personnel background checks to verify identity, criminal history and legal status. TSDB is in addition to this requirement.
Checks against the TSDB are only available through federal government maintained databases. Facilities are expected to submit the information to the DHS through the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT). DHS will coordinate checks with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). If there is a potential match, the information will be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where it is expected the individual will be further investigated by DHS, the FBI and local federal law enforcement; however, the reporting facility nor the individual will be notified. An individual who possesses a Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC), is not exempted from the TSDB screening process. DHS will require facilities to submit personnel information when a schedule is established. Facilities will also be required to notify DHS when the personnel no longer have access to restricted areas or critical assets.
CVSA Re-Schedules Roadcheck for June 8-10
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has re-scheduled its annual Roadcheck event for June 8-10, a week later than previously announced. During the 72-hour period, thousands of inspectors will be examining over 75,000 vehicles. What they find (or don't find) can affect your CSA 2010 scores. Even violations not resulting in an out-of-service order will be tabulated into the CSA 2010 Safety Measurement System. During last year's Roadcheck event, a record 72,782 inspections were conducted. Of the vehicles inspected, 19.6% (over 14,000 vehicles) were placed out of service for mechanical problems. On average, approximately 17 trucks or buses were inspected every minute. Even though Roadcheck 2010 is about a month away, there is still enough time to adjust any deficiencies in your operation.
National Safety School 2010 - Mark your calendars!
The National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School will be held August 17-18 this year at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington, Illinois. There is a renewed spirit and level of energy in the Safety School and we encourage everyone to register and participate in this quality program. An outstanding lineup of topics and speakers for 2010 has been secured. The Safety School program will benefit you and your staff! We ask that you seriously consider attending this year to see for yourself. The 2010 agenda will be posted soon and can be viewed by visiting www.naehss.org.
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). If your company registers with DOT annually, then your HazMat Registration expires on June 30th each year. If your company registers for a two or three year period, check your registration for the expiration year. 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.
Brace yourself for new fees if you aren't a small business. The current registration fees were established in a Final Rule published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2010. This rule established fees for registration years 2010-2011 and following. One, two, or three year periods of registration are permitted for years beginning July 1, 2000 and later. Here is the fee structure summarized from DOT's website. DOT instructions advise you pay the fee in the column titled "Small Business" if you meet the SBA size standard for a small business, and the fee in the column titled "Not-Small Business" if you do not meet that standard.
table
What is a "small business" you ask? DOT points businesses to the Small Business Administration (SBA) list that defines small business size standards matched to industries described in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), as modified by the Office of Management and Budget in 2007. The latest NAICS codes are referred to as NAICS 2007. The size standards are expressed (for the most part) in either millions of dollars or number of employees. A size standard is the largest that a concern can be and still qualify as a small business for Federal Government programs. How to calculate average annual receipts and average employment of a firm can be found in 13 CFR § 121.104 and 13 CFR § 121.106, respectively. Retailers assigned to NAICS code 424910 (Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers) and having 99 employees or less, would meet the definition of a small business. Click here for the SBA information.
IFCA Issues Special Notice Regarding Nurse Tank Trailer Licensing in Illinois
The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) requested The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) inform their members on April 19th of a new nurse tank trailer licensing issue in Illinois. The Illinois Secretary of State issued a letter changing a long standing policy in the state of Illinois. Applicants from outside Illinois that formerly received "dual registration" to comply with the state's law requiring license plates for nurse tanks while operating in Illinois, will no longer be able to purchase registration. Illinois defines nurse tanks as implements of husbandry and exempts intrastate transportation of nurse tanks from brakes, lights and other appurtenances, but does require license plates.
Since there is no federal definition of an implement of husbandry, nurse tanks in interstate commerce must be equipped with brakes, lights and other appurtenances. Since nurse tanks are not recognized as implements of husbandry, federal motor carrier officials in Illinois have told state officials that dual registration is prohibited. Companies that border Illinois and whose nurse tanks are crossing the state line, will not be stripped of their license plates by the Illinois Secretary of State, but they will not be allowed to renew the registration for the plates when their registration expires (registration is on a two- year cycle). The only way for a non-Illinois company to obtain Illinois registration for their nurse tank, will be to prove to the Secretary of State that the tanks are permanently domiciled in Illinois. Thanks to Pam Guffain, Vice President of Membership with TFI, and Jean Payne and Kevin Runkle with IFCA, for their work on this issue.
EPA Posts Electronic Template for SPCC
Electronic versions (different software formats) of the Tier I qualified facility SPCC Plan template in 40 CFR Part 112, Appendix G, are now available. The form-fill style template is intended to help the owner or operator of a Tier I qualified facility develop a self-certified SPCC Plan. To use the template, the facility must meet all of the applicability criteria of a Tier I qualified facility in 40 CFR Section 112.3(g)(1) of the SPCC Rule. The template provides every SPCC Rule requirement necessary for a Tier I qualified facility that must be addressed and implemented. The owner or operator may complete the template either electronically or by hand on a printed copy. EPA's template may be used to comply with the SPCC Rule or used as a model and modified as necessary to meet facility-specific needs. If the owner or operator modifies the template, the SPCC Plan must include a section cross-referencing the location of each applicable requirement of the SPCC Rule, and the Plan must be an equivalent Plan that meets all applicable rule requirements in Section 112.6(a)(3). Click here to review EPA's electronic template(s).
SPCC Note: EPA is currently reviewing two new web features (mySPCC) developed cooperatively by the Asmark Institute, The Fertilizer Institute and members of the regulated community. The Asmark Institute, TFI and EPA will be meeting to finalize this tool in the very near future. It is believed EPA will support the program much like the myRMP program. The new web-based tool mySPCC, utilizes logic designed specifically to help retail locations develop and produce a SPCC Plan specific to their facility. The logic within mySPCC provides a form of "checks and balances" over a form-fill electronic template that prevents a user from knowingly producing a faulty plan. Programming for the self-certification SPCC Plan (for use with a tank greater than 5,000 gallons) was completed in the fall of 2007. Programming for the second new tool that helps a user electronically complete the streamlined template (for use at facilities with no tank greater than 5,000 gallons) was completed the fall of 2008, and is awaiting release. The new mySPCC Suite is expected to be introduced in the very near future, pending review and approval.
Place CFPA (HR 4173) on your Watch List
The Senate will soon consider adding another government agency, known as the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). If HR 4173 were to pass in its present form, it is expected to affect virtually every business. If your business allows customers to pay with credit, to use a lay-away program, or even to pay in more than one installment, your business would face significant new regulation. Even businesses that are indirectly related to consumer finance, advertisers, accountants, homebuilders, utilities and Internet providers, will be covered by this sweeping new law. The bill would give the government authority to request and hold information about your bank accounts from financial institutions, including how much money is in each account. In its present form, HR 4173 would create a new government agency without Congressional oversight outside the Congressional appropriations process.
Sustainability Legislation Passes KY Legislature
A bill supported by CropLife America, the Southern Crop Production Association and other agricultural organizations, that provides for a broad definition of sustainable agriculture, passed the Kentucky legislature and was signed into law by the governor this week. The definition supports "science-based practices that are supported by research and the use of technology... that meet the needs of the present, and that improve the ability of future generations to meet their needs while advancing progress toward environmental, social and economic goals and the well-being of agriculture producers and rural communities". CLA thanked Tod Griffin, Executive Director of the Agribusiness Association of Kentucky, and Bucky Kennedy, Director of Government Affairs with the Southern Crop Production Association, for their work in promoting this concept and lobbying for this legislation.
CSA 2010 Data Preview Now Available for Motor Carriers
DOT announced the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 Data Preview, which will allow individual motor carriers to review their safety performance data by the CSA 2010 Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The data preview period begins on April 12, 2010 and ends on November 30, 2010, the national launch date for the CSA 2010 safety enforcement program. During the data preview period, motor carriers are encouraged to closely examine their performance data and immediately address any safety problems. This is also an opportunity for motor carriers to update and verify their safety performance data online. This important step is designed to focus motor carriers on identifying and addressing unsafe behaviors that can lead to crash risk. It also underscores FMCSA's commitment to data integrity and the motor carrier industry's responsibility for ensuring commercial vehicle safety. Complete details on the Data Preview and the CSA 2010 implementation schedule are published in the Federal Register. Sounds to us like DOT is asking you to preview and "proof" your data before the program is launched officially in December.
Note: CSA 2010 implementation dates may be pushed back. Full implementation of the CSA 2010 program, originally expected to start in July, is likely to be delayed until 2011, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA), citing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). ATA has asked FMCSA to alter some enforcement procedures and methods for calculating truckers' safety scores.
New Rules Sprout from Chesapeake Fertilizer Spill
Two million gallons of spilled fertilizer have sprouted a raft of new state laws by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. For the first time ever, the agency is set to finalize and implement regulations for large above-ground liquid fertilizer tanks, estimated to be about a dozen in Chesapeake and Norfolk areas. The new rules came at the request of Chesapeake city officials, who told state lawmakers they needed more authority to inspect tanks in the same way they inspect petroleum tanks. An aging fertilizer tank, owned by Allied Terminals, imploded in December 2008, drenching the South Hill neighborhood with ammonium nitrate. Efforts to remove the solution from the ground in South Hill are still underway, overseen by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The new rules for all fertilizer tanks in the state include city inspections for all existing and new tanks and require construction and design meet industry standards. They also call for tanks to have secondary containment systems, like a berm, so if a tank ruptures a neighborhood can't be flooded. The General Assembly approved the new tank rules during the January 2010 session. The Housing and Community Development Department expects to have finalized rules in place in July to take effect October 2011.
EPA Announces New Restrictions on Pesticide Phosphine Fumigants
EPA is requiring new restrictions on aluminum and magnesium phosphide, such as prohibiting all uses of the products around residential areas, increasing buffer zones for treatment around non-residential buildings that could be occupied by people or animals, and creating more protective product labeling. Aluminum and magnesium phosphide fumigants are used primarily to control insects in stored grain and other agricultural commodities. They are also used to control burrowing rodents in outdoor agricultural and other non-domestic areas. The fumigants are restricted to use by specially trained pesticide applicators and in only narrow circumstances. EPA is expediting approval of the new labels to reduce the potential for accidental poisonings. Products must not be applied in a burrow system that is within 100 feet of a building that is, or may be occupied, by people or domestic animals. This buffer zone had previously been 15 feet. The primary manufacturer is voluntarily implementing the changes. EPA will apply these changes to all aluminum and magnesium phosphide products.
OSHA Finalizing Rule for Recording Injuries in the Workplace
The period for public comment has closed for OSHA's proposed "Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements Rule." OSHA proposed to change the pre-existing standards so that employers with 10 or more employees (unless exempt) would be required to record certain work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in their OSHA 300 Log. The rule would require employers to place a check mark in a column for all MSDs they have recorded. Watch for a final rule soon.
IRS Issues Small Employer Health Insurance Coverage Tax Credit Info
Many small businesses that provide health insurance coverage to their employees now qualify for a special tax credit. The credit is specifically targeted to help small businesses that primarily employ low and moderate income workers. It is generally available to employers that have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees paying wages averaging less than $50,000 per employee per year. In general, the credit is available to these employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage for their employees. The maximum credit is 35% of premiums paid in 2010 by eligible small business employers. In 2014, this maximum credit increases to 50% of premiums paid. Eligible small businesses can claim the credit as part of the general business credit starting with the 2010 income tax return they file in 2011. Click here for more information about the credit.
Special Payroll Tax Exemption Form Now Available
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released a new form, Form W-11, Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) to help employers claim the special payroll tax exemption that applies to newly-hired workers during 2010, created by the HIRE Act signed into law on March 18th. It is now posted on IRS.gov, along with answers to frequently-asked questions about the payroll tax exemption and the related new hire retention credit. The new law requires that employers get a statement from each eligible new hire, certifying under penalties of perjury, that he or she was unemployed during the 60 days before beginning work or, alternatively, worked fewer than a total of 40 hours for anyone during the 60-day period. Employers can use Form W-11 to meet this requirement.
Jim Byrum Appointed to U.S. Panel Focused on Boosting Agriculture Trade
Michigan Agri-Business Association President Jim Byrum has been appointed to a federal U.S. Department of Agriculture panel tasked with promoting U.S. agriculture products to emerging foreign markets and opening the door to more trade for the U.S. agriculture sector. "Agriculture is one of the few bright spots in Michigan and across the nation, and I look forward to helping find new ways to roll out the welcome mat for more trade and more opportunities for U.S. agriculture and agriculture businesses," Byrum said. "Here in Michigan, agriculture is our state's second largest industry, generating more than $71.3 billion every year and employing more than a million people. Michigan represents the second-most diverse agricultural state behind California. I look forward to working with all parties to make U.S. agriculture a global force that can help drive local economies across our nation." Byrum was one of 20 people nationwide and the only one from Michigan appointed to the USDA Advisory Committee on Emerging Markets. The panelists represent experts in U.S. food and rural business systems. The panel's role is to provide advice to and information for the USDA as it implements the Emerging Markets Program, which is administered by the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.
Saccharin to be Removed from List of Hazardous Wastes
EPA published a proposed rule in April to remove saccharin from the CERCLA list of hazardous substances and the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) list of hazardous wastes. Saccharin, an artificial sweetener, is a typical ingredient in diet soft drinks, sweets, and chewing gum, and can also be found in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The proposed rule is in response to a petition submitted to EPA by the Calorie Control Council (CCC). EPA is proposing to grant CCC's petition based on a review of evaluations conducted by key public health agencies concerning carcinogenic and other potential toxicological effects, as well as an assessment of EPA's waste generation and management information. EPA has concluded that saccharin does not meet the criteria in the hazardous waste regulations for remaining on EPA's list of hazardous constituents or hazardous wastes. Click here for more information on the proposed rule.
2010 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.
Our best wishes and prayers go to all who are affected by the extreme weather, especially the current floods in recent days. Such weather events at this particular time of the spring season and over such a large territory of the United States, is a national tragedy. Many of the crops already planted across the affected areas have been damaged or even destroyed, and the prospects of finishing this planting season in a somewhat normal manner seems slim at this point. Fortunately, the agricultural industry is a close-knit community supported by eternal optimism, and spirits will raise once the rain is gone and we can return to the fields. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, especially this spring season!
New & Improved...Coming Soon!
New & Improved
Work is underway on several fronts that will be launched in October 2010. The Asmark Institute website is undergoing an extensive review. The review was prompted by ideas and comments from the Performance Evaluations completed by clients this past winter. Overall, more than 80 improvements are being made to the website this year. For the first time, clients will have a choice of selecting to participate in the new Electronic Service Program (ESP) that will provide the infrastructure to correspond electronically. ESP will be a choice, not a mandate, so the traditional method of correspondence will continue to be offered. Other new website improvements include the acceptance of the FireFox browser in addition to Internet Explorer, new record archival, better data validation, introduction of Snapshots 2.0 management dashboard and a host of improvements such as new technology sprinkled throughout the website that will make it more effective and user-friendly. Additionally, infrastructure improvements are being made to databases and hardware that will increase bandwidth, maximize server power and support the increase in data storage capacity. This will result in a faster, more streamlined and powerful website for our clients.
DHS - Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) Alert
The Asmark Institute joins the Agricultural Security Working Group (ASWG), which includes the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), CropLife America (CLA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) in alerting all members and users of the Asmark SVA for Agricultural Retailers of recent DHS activity. The Asmark SVA methodology was determined to be in compliance with the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) on January 27, 2003, prior to DHS or the CFATS rule. When CFATS regulations were developed, DHS developed its own SVA.
Previously, the ASWG had been told by DHS that our SVA tool would be acceptable for use with Tier 4
facilities. This appears to remain true for the SVA requirements, but we have recently learned that only partial acceptance is likely as an Alternative Security Plan (ASP). We believe this is due to a shift in the policy by DHS. Upon recent discussions with DHS, our SVA tool may provide only limited amounts of data necessary for submission to DHS.
In further discussions with DHS, we were informed that no SVA, other than DHS's SVA will provide complete assurance that all data requirements are met. Other associations that developed industry SVAs have experienced similar issues. To help alleviate confusion and save time for our members during this busy spring season, we recommend that members utilize the DHS version of the SVA to achieve compliance with CFATS. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact either ARA, TFI, CLA or the Asmark Institute.
CFATS Update
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on April 30th that it issued letters to 506 facilities regarding their final tier ranking. DHS further announced that 446 of the 506 facilities are unregulated. The majority of the April 3th notifications were Tier 4 under a preliminary designation. To date, DHS has issued 3,804 final tier rankings and 1,529 preliminary tier rankings.
DHS Personnel Surety Program
DHS published a Federal Register notice dated April 13, 2010, requesting additional comments on the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Personnel Surety Program. Comments are due by May 13th. The new program is garnering much criticism from the regulated community due to its redundancy and lack of reciprocity between federal government databases used to credential employees for security purposes, many of which, come under the control of DHS. CFATS requires covered facilities to submit information about personnel, including unescorted visitors with access to restricted areas or critical assets. The information submitted will be reviewed against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB, individuals with terrorist ties). Currently, high risk facilities must conduct personnel background checks to verify identity, criminal history and legal status. TSDB is in addition to this requirement.
Checks against the TSDB are only available through federal government maintained databases. Facilities are expected to submit the information to the DHS through the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT). DHS will coordinate checks with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). If there is a potential match, the information will be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where it is expected the individual will be further investigated by DHS, the FBI and local federal law enforcement; however, the reporting facility nor the individual will be notified. An individual who possesses a Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC), is not exempted from the TSDB screening process. DHS will require facilities to submit personnel information when a schedule is established. Facilities will also be required to notify DHS when the personnel no longer have access to restricted areas or critical assets.
CVSA Re-Schedules Roadcheck for June 8-10
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has re-scheduled its annual Roadcheck event for June 8-10, a week later than previously announced. During the 72-hour period, thousands of inspectors will be examining over 75,000 vehicles. What they find (or don't find) can affect your CSA 2010 scores. Even violations not resulting in an out-of-service order will be tabulated into the CSA 2010 Safety Measurement System. During last year's Roadcheck event, a record 72,782 inspections were conducted. Of the vehicles inspected, 19.6% (over 14,000 vehicles) were placed out of service for mechanical problems. On average, approximately 17 trucks or buses were inspected every minute. Even though Roadcheck 2010 is about a month away, there is still enough time to adjust any deficiencies in your operation.
National Safety School 2010 - Mark your calendars!
The National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School will be held August 17-18 this year at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington, Illinois. There is a renewed spirit and level of energy in the Safety School and we encourage everyone to register and participate in this quality program. An outstanding lineup of topics and speakers for 2010 has been secured. The Safety School program will benefit you and your staff! We ask that you seriously consider attending this year to see for yourself. The 2010 agenda will be posted soon and can be viewed by visiting www.naehss.org.
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). If your company registers with DOT annually, then your HazMat Registration expires on June 30th each year. If your company registers for a two or three year period, check your registration for the expiration year. 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.
Brace yourself for new fees if you aren't a small business. The current registration fees were established in a Final Rule published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2010. This rule established fees for registration years 2010-2011 and following. One, two, or three year periods of registration are permitted for years beginning July 1, 2000 and later. Here is the fee structure summarized from DOT's website. DOT instructions advise you pay the fee in the column titled "Small Business" if you meet the SBA size standard for a small business, and the fee in the column titled "Not-Small Business" if you do not meet that standard.
table
What is a "small business" you ask? DOT points businesses to the Small Business Administration (SBA) list that defines small business size standards matched to industries described in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), as modified by the Office of Management and Budget in 2007. The latest NAICS codes are referred to as NAICS 2007. The size standards are expressed (for the most part) in either millions of dollars or number of employees. A size standard is the largest that a concern can be and still qualify as a small business for Federal Government programs. How to calculate average annual receipts and average employment of a firm can be found in 13 CFR § 121.104 and 13 CFR § 121.106, respectively. Retailers assigned to NAICS code 424910 (Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers) and having 99 employees or less, would meet the definition of a small business. Click here for the SBA information.
IFCA Issues Special Notice Regarding Nurse Tank Trailer Licensing in Illinois
The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) requested The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) inform their members on April 19th of a new nurse tank trailer licensing issue in Illinois. The Illinois Secretary of State issued a letter changing a long standing policy in the state of Illinois. Applicants from outside Illinois that formerly received "dual registration" to comply with the state's law requiring license plates for nurse tanks while operating in Illinois, will no longer be able to purchase registration. Illinois defines nurse tanks as implements of husbandry and exempts intrastate transportation of nurse tanks from brakes, lights and other appurtenances, but does require license plates.
Since there is no federal definition of an implement of husbandry, nurse tanks in interstate commerce must be equipped with brakes, lights and other appurtenances. Since nurse tanks are not recognized as implements of husbandry, federal motor carrier officials in Illinois have told state officials that dual registration is prohibited. Companies that border Illinois and whose nurse tanks are crossing the state line, will not be stripped of their license plates by the Illinois Secretary of State, but they will not be allowed to renew the registration for the plates when their registration expires (registration is on a two- year cycle). The only way for a non-Illinois company to obtain Illinois registration for their nurse tank, will be to prove to the Secretary of State that the tanks are permanently domiciled in Illinois. Thanks to Pam Guffain, Vice President of Membership with TFI, and Jean Payne and Kevin Runkle with IFCA, for their work on this issue.
EPA Posts Electronic Template for SPCC
Electronic versions (different software formats) of the Tier I qualified facility SPCC Plan template in 40 CFR Part 112, Appendix G, are now available. The form-fill style template is intended to help the owner or operator of a Tier I qualified facility develop a self-certified SPCC Plan. To use the template, the facility must meet all of the applicability criteria of a Tier I qualified facility in 40 CFR Section 112.3(g)(1) of the SPCC Rule. The template provides every SPCC Rule requirement necessary for a Tier I qualified facility that must be addressed and implemented. The owner or operator may complete the template either electronically or by hand on a printed copy. EPA's template may be used to comply with the SPCC Rule or used as a model and modified as necessary to meet facility-specific needs. If the owner or operator modifies the template, the SPCC Plan must include a section cross-referencing the location of each applicable requirement of the SPCC Rule, and the Plan must be an equivalent Plan that meets all applicable rule requirements in Section 112.6(a)(3). Click here to review EPA's electronic template(s).
SPCC Note: EPA is currently reviewing two new web features (mySPCC) developed cooperatively by the Asmark Institute, The Fertilizer Institute and members of the regulated community. The Asmark Institute, TFI and EPA will be meeting to finalize this tool in the very near future. It is believed EPA will support the program much like the myRMP program. The new web-based tool mySPCC, utilizes logic designed specifically to help retail locations develop and produce a SPCC Plan specific to their facility. The logic within mySPCC provides a form of "checks and balances" over a form-fill electronic template that prevents a user from knowingly producing a faulty plan. Programming for the self-certification SPCC Plan (for use with a tank greater than 5,000 gallons) was completed in the fall of 2007. Programming for the second new tool that helps a user electronically complete the streamlined template (for use at facilities with no tank greater than 5,000 gallons) was completed the fall of 2008, and is awaiting release. The new mySPCC Suite is expected to be introduced in the very near future, pending review and approval.
Place CFPA (HR 4173) on your Watch List
The Senate will soon consider adding another government agency, known as the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). If HR 4173 were to pass in its present form, it is expected to affect virtually every business. If your business allows customers to pay with credit, to use a lay-away program, or even to pay in more than one installment, your business would face significant new regulation. Even businesses that are indirectly related to consumer finance, advertisers, accountants, homebuilders, utilities and Internet providers, will be covered by this sweeping new law. The bill would give the government authority to request and hold information about your bank accounts from financial institutions, including how much money is in each account. In its present form, HR 4173 would create a new government agency without Congressional oversight outside the Congressional appropriations process.
Sustainability Legislation Passes KY Legislature
A bill supported by CropLife America, the Southern Crop Production Association and other agricultural organizations, that provides for a broad definition of sustainable agriculture, passed the Kentucky legislature and was signed into law by the governor this week. The definition supports "science-based practices that are supported by research and the use of technology... that meet the needs of the present, and that improve the ability of future generations to meet their needs while advancing progress toward environmental, social and economic goals and the well-being of agriculture producers and rural communities". CLA thanked Tod Griffin, Executive Director of the Agribusiness Association of Kentucky, and Bucky Kennedy, Director of Government Affairs with the Southern Crop Production Association, for their work in promoting this concept and lobbying for this legislation.
CSA 2010 Data Preview Now Available for Motor Carriers
DOT announced the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 Data Preview, which will allow individual motor carriers to review their safety performance data by the CSA 2010 Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The data preview period begins on April 12, 2010 and ends on November 30, 2010, the national launch date for the CSA 2010 safety enforcement program. During the data preview period, motor carriers are encouraged to closely examine their performance data and immediately address any safety problems. This is also an opportunity for motor carriers to update and verify their safety performance data online. This important step is designed to focus motor carriers on identifying and addressing unsafe behaviors that can lead to crash risk. It also underscores FMCSA's commitment to data integrity and the motor carrier industry's responsibility for ensuring commercial vehicle safety. Complete details on the Data Preview and the CSA 2010 implementation schedule are published in the Federal Register. Sounds to us like DOT is asking you to preview and "proof" your data before the program is launched officially in December.
Note: CSA 2010 implementation dates may be pushed back. Full implementation of the CSA 2010 program, originally expected to start in July, is likely to be delayed until 2011, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA), citing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). ATA has asked FMCSA to alter some enforcement procedures and methods for calculating truckers' safety scores.
New Rules Sprout from Chesapeake Fertilizer Spill
Two million gallons of spilled fertilizer have sprouted a raft of new state laws by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. For the first time ever, the agency is set to finalize and implement regulations for large above-ground liquid fertilizer tanks, estimated to be about a dozen in Chesapeake and Norfolk areas. The new rules came at the request of Chesapeake city officials, who told state lawmakers they needed more authority to inspect tanks in the same way they inspect petroleum tanks. An aging fertilizer tank, owned by Allied Terminals, imploded in December 2008, drenching the South Hill neighborhood with ammonium nitrate. Efforts to remove the solution from the ground in South Hill are still underway, overseen by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The new rules for all fertilizer tanks in the state include city inspections for all existing and new tanks and require construction and design meet industry standards. They also call for tanks to have secondary containment systems, like a berm, so if a tank ruptures a neighborhood can't be flooded. The General Assembly approved the new tank rules during the January 2010 session. The Housing and Community Development Department expects to have finalized rules in place in July to take effect October 2011.
EPA Announces New Restrictions on Pesticide Phosphine Fumigants
EPA is requiring new restrictions on aluminum and magnesium phosphide, such as prohibiting all uses of the products around residential areas, increasing buffer zones for treatment around non-residential buildings that could be occupied by people or animals, and creating more protective product labeling. Aluminum and magnesium phosphide fumigants are used primarily to control insects in stored grain and other agricultural commodities. They are also used to control burrowing rodents in outdoor agricultural and other non-domestic areas. The fumigants are restricted to use by specially trained pesticide applicators and in only narrow circumstances. EPA is expediting approval of the new labels to reduce the potential for accidental poisonings. Products must not be applied in a burrow system that is within 100 feet of a building that is, or may be occupied, by people or domestic animals. This buffer zone had previously been 15 feet. The primary manufacturer is voluntarily implementing the changes. EPA will apply these changes to all aluminum and magnesium phosphide products.
OSHA Finalizing Rule for Recording Injuries in the Workplace
The period for public comment has closed for OSHA's proposed "Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements Rule." OSHA proposed to change the pre-existing standards so that employers with 10 or more employees (unless exempt) would be required to record certain work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in their OSHA 300 Log. The rule would require employers to place a check mark in a column for all MSDs they have recorded. Watch for a final rule soon.
IRS Issues Small Employer Health Insurance Coverage Tax Credit Info
Many small businesses that provide health insurance coverage to their employees now qualify for a special tax credit. The credit is specifically targeted to help small businesses that primarily employ low and moderate income workers. It is generally available to employers that have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees paying wages averaging less than $50,000 per employee per year. In general, the credit is available to these employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage for their employees. The maximum credit is 35% of premiums paid in 2010 by eligible small business employers. In 2014, this maximum credit increases to 50% of premiums paid. Eligible small businesses can claim the credit as part of the general business credit starting with the 2010 income tax return they file in 2011. Click here for more information about the credit.
Special Payroll Tax Exemption Form Now Available
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released a new form, Form W-11, Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) to help employers claim the special payroll tax exemption that applies to newly-hired workers during 2010, created by the HIRE Act signed into law on March 18th. It is now posted on IRS.gov, along with answers to frequently-asked questions about the payroll tax exemption and the related new hire retention credit. The new law requires that employers get a statement from each eligible new hire, certifying under penalties of perjury, that he or she was unemployed during the 60 days before beginning work or, alternatively, worked fewer than a total of 40 hours for anyone during the 60-day period. Employers can use Form W-11 to meet this requirement.
Jim Byrum Appointed to U.S. Panel Focused on Boosting Agriculture Trade
Michigan Agri-Business Association President Jim Byrum has been appointed to a federal U.S. Department of Agriculture panel tasked with promoting U.S. agriculture products to emerging foreign markets and opening the door to more trade for the U.S. agriculture sector. "Agriculture is one of the few bright spots in Michigan and across the nation, and I look forward to helping find new ways to roll out the welcome mat for more trade and more opportunities for U.S. agriculture and agriculture businesses," Byrum said. "Here in Michigan, agriculture is our state's second largest industry, generating more than $71.3 billion every year and employing more than a million people. Michigan represents the second-most diverse agricultural state behind California. I look forward to working with all parties to make U.S. agriculture a global force that can help drive local economies across our nation." Byrum was one of 20 people nationwide and the only one from Michigan appointed to the USDA Advisory Committee on Emerging Markets. The panelists represent experts in U.S. food and rural business systems. The panel's role is to provide advice to and information for the USDA as it implements the Emerging Markets Program, which is administered by the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.
Saccharin to be Removed from List of Hazardous Wastes
EPA published a proposed rule in April to remove saccharin from the CERCLA list of hazardous substances and the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) list of hazardous wastes. Saccharin, an artificial sweetener, is a typical ingredient in diet soft drinks, sweets, and chewing gum, and can also be found in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The proposed rule is in response to a petition submitted to EPA by the Calorie Control Council (CCC). EPA is proposing to grant CCC's petition based on a review of evaluations conducted by key public health agencies concerning carcinogenic and other potential toxicological effects, as well as an assessment of EPA's waste generation and management information. EPA has concluded that saccharin does not meet the criteria in the hazardous waste regulations for remaining on EPA's list of hazardous constituents or hazardous wastes. Click here for more information on the proposed rule.
2010 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.