Industry, federal agencies discuss chemical safety solutions

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks says the Environmental Protection Agency is among several agencies that are part of listening sessions conducted in response to the deadly fertilizer blast last spring in West, Texas. The sessions involve the chemical industry, wholesale and retail representatives, production agriculture and community and worker safety officials, according to Brooks.

The participating entities “share their recommendations about how our federal system of managing chemicals can be safe; safe for the workers there, safe for the customers, safe for the neighbors and also contribute to productivity,” said Brooks, in an interview with Brownfield Ag News Wednesday.

Daren Coppock, president and CEO of the Agricultural Retailers Association, favors a proactive, industry-led solution to ammonium nitrate safety concerns. He tells Brownfield there are some solutions that his organization does not support.

“Some folks in Washington have said the easiest way to stop having this stuff blow up is to stop using it, and so there calls for bans, there have calls for onerous insurance requirements or adding a bunch of regulatory requirements to those who want to handle AN [ammonium nitrate],” said Coppock.

More than a dozen lives were lost as a result of the explosion April 17 in the Texas town not far from Waco.

Coppock and Brooks both spoke at the Missouri Agri-Business Association convention in Columbia Wednesday.

AUDIO: Karl Brooks (8 min. MP3)

AUDIO: Daren Coppock (3 min. MP3)

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