Climate change bill may harm US fertilizer industry - trade group

30 July 2009 18:30  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Climate change policy being considered by the US Congress could damage the fertilizer industry, farmers and the US food supply, the president of a fertilizer trade group said on Thursday.

“During the past decade, high natural gas prices have had a devastating impact on the US nitrogen fertilizer industry,” The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) president Ford West said.

“We are particularly concerned that a consequence of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454) will be higher energy prices, which will drive the remaining US nitrogen production offshore to countries with low cost supplies of natural gas, and result in US food production relying solely upon our ability to secure fertilizers from the countries of the Arab world, Venezuela, China and Russia," he said.

Since 2000, US producers have closed 26 nitrogen fertilizer production facilities, due primarily to the high cost of natural gas, TFI said.

Currently, 29 nitrogen plants operate in the US and over 55% of nitrogen fertilizer is imported. 

Of this imported fertilizer, 82.7 % comes from countries without climate change policies in place to regulate carbon, and a majority of these countries are those from whom the US is striving for energy independence, TFI said.

“We urge the Senate to ensure that any future climate change policy does not harm America’s remaining nitrogen fertilizer production,” West said. 

“Specifically, we ask that the Senate ensure that we do not outsource our nitrogen fertilizer industry and in doing so, risk the nation’s food security and in turn US national security.”

Major US nitrogen fertilizer producers include Terra, CF Industries and Koch Industries.

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By: Frank Zaworski
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