Senator Blunt Challenges Secretary of Labor on Ammonium Nitrate

03/18/2016

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor & Health, challenged Department of Labor Secretary, Thomas Perez, during a hearing examining the Department’s FY 2017 budget request. 

Referring to the agency’s proposal to expand the Process Safety Management (PSM) program Sen. Blunt stated “The U.S. Chemical Safety Board says that there is no evidence that there has ever been an ammonia nitrate problem if the current rules are followed.”  Chairman Blunt was the author of a provision in the report on the Subcommittee’s FY 2016 appropriations bill that called attention to this safety record and required OSHA to submit a report to Congress on the costs and benefits of making any changes to current standards. 

Unfortunately, Secretary Perez, responded with the traditional “dammed if I do and dammed if I don’t,” revealing that OSHA would take a path contrary to congressional intent. 

Sen. Blunt was not impressed and said that Congress may express its will every year to continue prohibiting you from doing something [improperly] that you could have done properly by proposing a rule.  He finished by reminding the Secretary that the intent was for OSHA to go through the rulemaking process.