Senator John Barrasso Opposes RMP Regulation of Ammonium Nitrate

10/25/2013

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy opposing efforts to add ammonium nitrate to the agency's Risk Management Program (RMP).  The President's executive order on chemical safety and security, issued in the wake of the tragic donation of ammonium nitrate at West, TX, tasked EPA to assess the need to expand the RMP program.  The Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which is investigating the West, TX accident, has recommended that ammonium nitrate be added to the list of chemicals regulated under the RMP.  The Senator maintained that current rules promulgated by OSHA are sufficient to ensure the safety of ammonium nitrate storage.  The Senator pointed to testimony from a hearing last summer on the West, TX incident, where witnesses, including the CSB, acknowledged that there is no evidence of an accidental detonation of ammonium nitrate where a facility has been compliant with OSHA rules.  Earlier this month, OSHA demonstrated its resolve to enforce these ammonium nitrate safety rules and issued eight citations to West Fertilizer.  IME opposes the expansion of RMP to ammonium nitrate storage.  IME does not believe that the RMP would have prevented the West, TX disaster.  It is a consequence-based program.  It does not require the "good housekeeping" standards that are the hallmark of the OSHA rules and that would have eliminated fire sources from the storage area.  Simply imposing RMP on ammonium nitrate storage facilities does nothing to address the culture of non-compliance that was practiced at West Fertilizer.  IME appreciates Senator Barrasso's willingness to speak out on this key issue.