The U.S. House of Representatives included the "Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Act of 2007" (H.R. 1680) as part of the domestic spending bill, which was approved Dec. 17 by a vote of 253 to 154. The ammonium nitrate legislation, which has been spearheaded by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, creates a uniform, national regulatory system for securing ammonium nitrate. The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is a key supporter of the ammonium nitrate legislation.

"TFI has been a lead supporter of this legislation since it was first introduced in 2005 and is grateful to Chairman Thompson for his tireless efforts to move this important legislation forward," said TFI President Ford B. West. "The implementation of ammonium nitrate legislation just makes sense in today's society and we are hopeful that the Senate will soon follow the House's lead with regard to this legislation."

The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a regulatory system to help keep ammonium nitrate out of the hands of those with criminal intent. Specifically, the bill would require all ammonium nitrate facilities and purchasers to register with DHS. Rep. Thompson clarified on the House floor that the intent of this legislation is to require the registration of those that take passion of ammonium nitrate. All registrations are to be checked against terrorist watch lists and in this regard, the bill also includes provisions for expedited reviews of registration applications, notification of application status and appeals process. In addition, the bill would require producers and sellers to maintain records of all sales for two years, including the producer's name, address, phone number and registration number, and the date and quantity of ammonium nitrate sold.

The bill preempts state regulation that is inconsistent with the federal legislation, but allows states to provide for additional protection. In addition, the bill requires all thefts or unexplained losses be reported to federal law enforcement within 24 hours.

The domestic spending measure, sometimes called the omnibus bill, includes 11 spending bills totaling $515.7 billion, which funds every agency of government but the Defense Department for fiscal year 2008.

"We urge the House and Senate leadership to send this critical agricultural security legislation to the President's desk so that it can be signed into law," said West.