D.C. Court of Appeals Decision- “Positive Step for Farmers”

A news release on Friday from Senate Ag Committee member John Hoeven (R., N.D.), stated that, “[Sen. Hoeven] today said a D.C. Court of Appeals decision to stop the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) new anhydrous rule is a positive step for farmers in North Dakota and across the nation. The court decision prevents OSHA from going forward with its anhydrous rule until it follows the proper notice-and-comment procedures.”

The release added that, “In December, the senator introduced and worked to pass legislation preventing OSHA from implementing a regulation forcing agricultural retail facilities to comply with the same chemical storage requirements as a wholesale facility. This would have caused many retailers to stop selling to farmers at rural locations and threaten to limit the supply of anhydrous ammonia, a nitrogen fertilizer that is critically important to producers. Earlier this year, Hoeven included language in the Senate Fiscal Year 2017 Labor-HHS appropriations bill prohibiting OSHA from implementing it in 2017. The legislation passed out of committee by a large bipartisan majority vote.

Rural suppliers have said the OSHA rule would cause them to stop supplying fertilizer, which would create hardship and expense for farmers because they would have to travel further to purchase it. In June, the N.D. Department of Agriculture estimated that as a result of OSHA’s policy change, 275 North Dakota agriculture retail facilities would be subject to this more stringent storage regulation. The resulting cost of compliance could force nearly 90 of them to shut down.”

And Senate Ag Committee member Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) tweeted on Friday that, “Court decision today forced @OSHA_DOL to withdraw the standards b/c it didn’t seek meaningful input from farmers & fertilizer retailers

The Senate Ag Committee GOP twitter account, in a tweet from Friday included these remarks from Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R., Kans.) regarding the court decision:  “Today, the courts again ruled against the administration’s misguided regulations that would harm producers and drive up food prices.  The ruling showed that the administration acted illegally imposing a rule which could increase the price of fertilizer without giving producers or retailers time to make their voices heard.  This ruling is good news for farmers and ranchers and for reining in the administration’s harmful, regulatory overreach.”

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