Agricultural cooperative resolves dispute with EPA, adds additional safety measures to anhydrous ammonia facilities
MFA Incorporated (MFA) has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its MFA Agri Services anhydrous ammonia fertilizer facilities.
The agreement is the result of two years of extended negotiations between MFA and EPA. During the course of those negotiations, EPA withdrew from pursuing several findings of alleged noncompliance. The agreement resolves the remaining allegations for 9 MFA locations, which include failure to submit timely reports, failure to identify potential hazards in connection with anhydrous ammonia facilities, and failure to complete required documentation.
In order to avoid the burden and uncertainty of a lawsuit, MFA agreed to certain ongoing reporting obligations, third-party audits of some of its facilities, and to pay a penalty, in addition to other relief under a mutually agreed upon consent decree. As a part of this agreement, MFA does not admit or accept any fault or liability regarding EPA’s alleged noncompliance.
MFA Incorporated will participate in a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) to implement additional and innovative emergency shutoff equipment at its anhydrous ammonia fertilizer facilities. The equipment, which was developed by MFA, is designed to enhance the safety of MFA facilities by using remote technology to more swiftly shut off valves in the case of a release, limiting any potential harm to people or the environment.
“It is always our goal to operate all of MFA’s facilities responsibly. When we learned of EPA’s concerns, we immediately took steps to address them. In some cases, this meant providing a response for why we believed we were in compliance. In the case of the SEP shut-off system, it meant building in an additional layer of security for our employees and the environment. It is state-of-the-art technology,” said Craig Childs, senior vice president of MFA’s Agri Services Division.
MFA devotes a great amount of resources toward worker safety. The company is committed to providing a safe working environment for its employees.
Further, MFA considers environmental stewardship as an important foundation for the long-term sustainability and growth of agriculture.
“Stewardship is a core value at MFA. It is a part of who we are. We disagreed with EPA’s evaluation of our operations and did not believe we deserved the extent of attention and scrutiny we have received,” said MFA President and CEO Ernie Verslues. “Still, we are implementing the Supplemental Environmental Project as a way to live up to this core value and to continue to safely and responsibly offer anhydrous ammonia products and services to our member-owners.”
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