At the public listening session held by the Department of Homeland Security for its Ammonium Nitrate Security Program in Overland Park, Kan., this week, the majority of speakers expressing their opinions about the proposed rule indicated the rule would create duplicate regulations and cause other logistical challenges.
The session started with a reading of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program. Comments from attendees were then heard and recorded so that they will become a part of a written transcript that DHS will use to make its final ruling after Dec. 1.
Approximately 25 to 30 people attended the Overland Park, Kan., session. DHS has been holding sessions across the country since the first one Oct. 11 in Jackson, Miss.
Representatives from ammunition and agricultural retail facilities made comments at the Overland Park session.
The executive director of the Missouri Agribusiness Association, said DHS needed to be reminded of the original intent of the rulemaking. “We need to remember the purpose of the rulemaking was not only to prevent the use of ammonium nitrate in acts of terrorism, it was also meant to decrease the burden on sellers and purchasers for legitimate reasons. We need to keep both pieces of that in mind. Both are just as important.”
He suggested a reduction of some of the transportation requirements that could make the process cumbersome for agribusinesses.
A spokesperson from MFA mentioned that the new ruling could “cause undue hardship on many of our older farmers and ranchers, especially in the cow-calf market.” He said it would be hard for many of his customers to comply because of the complexity of explaining it to an aging population.
One retailer from Hiawatha, Kan., challenged the notion that ammonium nitrate is commonly sold in 50 pound bags. He also expressed that he’s already meeting requirements by the Kansas Department of Agriculture for selling ammonium nitrate. He also mentioned that the trucks his company uses are Department of Transportation certified as well as HAZMAT.
A representative from the Austin Power Company said the proposed new rules would not be a step forward for the explosives industry. He also took issue regarding the definitions surrounding unexplained losses, which does not provide specifics.
Although no answers are provided to the concerns being shared at the meetings, DHS representatives said all comments whether in person, online or in writing would be considered. More public listening sessions are being held across the country. For a list of future dates, go to http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/ammonium-nitrate-security-program.shtm
To read the presentation given at the listening sessions, go to http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/oip-nprm-public-meeting-presentation-10072011.pdf
For a list of talking points from the Agricultural Retailers Association that can be personalized to a company’s specific situation can be printed and used at any sessions, go to http://www.agprofessional.com/news/DHS-ammonium-nitrate-security-program-public-listening-sessions-132611798.html