The DHS Ammonium Nitrate (AN) Security Program Public Listening Sessions began two weeks ago in Jackson, Miss. ARA appreciates industry officials that have been able to attend one of these first sessions. It will be very important for ARA members, their farm and ranch customers and other segments of the agricultural industry to attend and speak up at these public listening sessions  in order to educate DHS on areas of concerns the industry has with some key provisions in their proposed AN Security Program.

ARA has updated the attached talking points based upon member input to help you and other officials within your business operations better prepare for these DHS public sessions. Click here to view a copy of the complete DHS proposed rule. Please contact Richard Gupton of ARA at 202-457-0825 or richard@aradc.org if you have any questions or need additional information.  Thank you for your active involvement and support on this important industry issue!

Meeting Schedule

The schedule below lists the cities and dates where public meetings will be held for the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program NPRM. Each meeting time is currently scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

More information can be found in the Notice of Public Meetings: Ammonium Nitrate Security Program (PDF, 2 pages – 145 KB), Published October 7, 2011. This DHS notice includes key comments being solicited by the agency.   Also, here is a link to the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program NPRM Public Meeting Presentation.

Public Meeting Cities

Date

City

Hotel/Ballroom

Tuesday,
October 25, 2011

Overland, Kan.

Marriott Overland (Near Kansas City, MO)
10800 Metcalf Ave
Overland Park, Kan. 66210
Meeting Room (TBD)

Thursday,
October 27, 2011

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Sheraton Oklahoma
Oklahoma City Hotel
1N. Broadway Ave.
Oklahoma City, Okla. 73102
Ballroom & Boardroom (TBD)

Tuesday,
November 1, 2011

Savannah, Ga.

Hilton Savannah DeSoto
15 East Liberty Street
Savannah, Ga. 31401-3979

Thursday,
November 3, 2011

Charleston, W.Va.

Ramada Charleston Downtown
600 Kanawha Blvd. E.
Charleston, W. Va. 25301
Morgan/Baronner/Isacoff Meeting Rooms

Tuesday,
November 8, 2011

Mobile, Ala.

Mobile Marriott
3101 Airport Blvd.
Mobile, Ala. 36606
Magnolia/Camellia Ballroom

Thursday,
November 10, 2011

Washington, D.C.

The Kellogg Conference Center
at Gallaudet University
800 Florida Ave. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
Kellogg Auditorium

Tuesday,
November 15, 2011

Denver, Colo.

Grand Hyatt Denver
1750 Welton Street
Denver, Colo. 80202
Meeting Room (TBD)  

 

Ammonium Nitrate (AN) Security Program Talking Points for DHS Public Listening Sessions

Industry supports a common sense, fair and simplified federal registration program for solid AN fertilizer (no mixtures) without unduly burdening the agricultural sector’s access to AN fertilizer for farming and other legitimate purposes.

The current DHS AN Security Program proposal is neither simple nor fair and goes well beyond the legislative history and original intent of Congress when the “Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Act” (P.L. 110-161) was enacted into law on December 26, 2007.

Solid Ammonium Nitrate - The DHS proposed definition for solid AN is “chiefly the ammonium salt of nitric acid, that contains not less than 33% nitrogen by weight,” which is the standard definition for AN recognized by industry. Please maintain this proposed definition.

Ammonium Nitrate Mixture – The DHS proposed AN mixture definition of “any mixture containing 30% solid AN, by weight, that is chiefly the ammonium salt of nitric acid with the solid AN in the mixture must contain not less than 33% nitrogen by weight” would encompass a significant number of AN mixtures that pose no security risks.

• Eliminate the proposed AN mixture definition.

• As required by statute (Public Law 110-161), DHS never provided industry with the required notice and opportunity to comment prior to establishing a threshold % for AN in a substance. The DHS 2008 request for public comment did not include this specific request.

• DHS proposed AN mixture definition is inconsistent with CFATS regulations and would include AN products that are not considered a hazardous material or oxidizer under DOT Hazmat regulations.

• NPK fertilizers are not 5.1 oxidizers or Class 9 products under DOT regulations.

• Homogenous products containing AN and that are not readily detonable should be exempt because it is very difficult to re-separate the AN from a homogenous product.

• DHS needs to clarify what it means by mixtures, blends and homogenous products.

Exemptions - DHS has proposed a number of exemptions to this proposed regulation.

• Eliminate the proposed exemption for solid AN and mixtures sold weighing less than 25 pounds. All AN facilities and AN purchasers obtaining AN should be required to register under the program.

• Include a limited exemption for sampling purposes by state fertilizer control officials for consumer safety purposes.

• Support the exemption for AN explosives since it is already fully regulated by ATF and numerous other federal security regulations.

Registrations

• The DHS proposal in effect would require all or most employees working at an agricultural retail facility to register (ex. point of contact (POC) managing / controlling owner; sales and marketing officials; commercial applicators; designated AN compliance officer) with DHS and be vetted through the Terrorist Screening Data Base (TSDB).

• The AN registrations should be permanent. Requiring AN facilities or AN purchasers is not necessary since all AN registered users will be required to submit information within 30 days of a change to any of the information submitted as part of the original application (e.g. name, address). An AN Register User would be able to update his / her information through a proposed AN User Registration Portal.

• DHS needs to clearly define who should be registered and vetted, including greater details regarding the Point of Contact (POC). As currently drafted, the POC requirements are overly restrictive. Industry should have more flexibility on facility personnel that needs to be covered under this program.

Agents / Independent Transporters

• Eliminate any requirements under this program related to the transportation movements of AN.

• The AN facility’s transporters, “Independent Transporters”, or “Agents.” Should NOT be required to be registered by DHS and vetted through the Terrorist Screening Data Base (TSDB).

• Transportation security is the role of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

• These proposals could lead “Independent Transporters” from being unwilling to haul solid AN or mixtures, which would result in an embargo of the product and its potential elimination from the U.S. marketplace.

• Requirements for the CDL HME fingerprinting and background checks and numerous other federal credentialing programs have already resulted in the loss of qualified drivers. If “Independent Transporters” are included in the DHS AN Security Program proposal it will only exacerbate existing shortages with drivers and available transportation.

Inspections / Audits

• America’s agricultural industry is concerned with sending any information off-site (either electronically or paper copies) for remote inspections and audits since the AN facility will lose control over the information and increases chances the information may not remain confidential.

• DHS should only have the ability for on-site inspections and audits to ensure confidential records remain properly secured.

Theft / Loss

• Support the DHS proposal relating to theft or loss of solid AN or mixtures as it takes into account the loss of product through normal industry practices (i.e. shrinkage).

• Support the 24 hour time frame to report a theft or unexplained loss to ATF. However, the 24 hour deadline should not begin until the AN facility has had time to investigate the unexplained loss or possible theft and determine the AN could not be accounted for due to shrinkage, accounting error, miscommunication, raild road incident, etc.).

• AN facility should not be penalized if it is later determined that AN could be accounted for.