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Department of Homeland Security to Regulate Ammonium Nitrate

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:45 am    Post subject: Department of Homeland Security to Regulate Ammonium Nitrate Reply with quote

Department of Homeland Security to Regulate
Ammonium Nitrate-based Fertilizer Under Legislation Introduced by
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of the House Committee on
Homeland Security today voted unanimously to help block terrorists' access to
ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which when combined with various fuels has been
used to create improvised explosive devices that have claimed many victims.
This deadly combination was found in the device used by domestic
terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred
P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. These devices also have been used
internationally in several terrorist incidents.
The Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack today
heard testimony on the importance of regulating this potentially dangerous
substance. The Subcommittee also marked up legislation introduced by the
Committee's Ranking Member, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), and Rep. Curt
Weldon (R-PA), the Committee's Vice Chairman.
The "Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Act" gives the Department of
Homeland Security the authority to regulate entities and individuals that
produce, sell, or distribute ammonium nitrate-based fertilizer. This bill
would allow the Department, working with the Department of Agriculture, to
develop regulations to create a registry of those who handle ammonium nitrate-
based fertilizer.
Only facilities and people registered with the Department would be able to
legally access ammonium nitrate-based fertilizer. Anyone purchasing ammonium
nitrate would be required to have a registration number. Retailers would be
required to keep records of ammonium nitrate sales for at least three years.
The records must include the purchaser's name, address, telephone number,
registration number, and other valid State-issued identification, the date of
sale and quantity sold. Violators are subject to civil penalties of up to
Rep. Thompson stressed the importance of the Department of Homeland
Security leading the effort to protect our nation's agricultural sector.
"Historically, agriculture has been the mainstay of the Mississippi
economy, and farmers swear by ammonium nitrate-based fertilizer," said Rep.
Thompson. "This substance must continue to be available for farming, and we
also must make sure terrorists cannot easily acquire it and use it as a lethal
weapon against the American people."
"I applaud Chairman Linder, Committee Vice-Chairman Weldon, and Ranking
Member Thompson, and Rep. Langevin for their leadership on this issue," said
Peter T. King, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security.
"They clearly understand the importance of our committee's mission, helping
safeguard America against another terrorist attack; and this bill takes
positive steps in that direction."
"This is a highly unusual situation, in that an industry has voluntarily
approached Congress and asked to be regulated," said Weldon. "I applaud the
fertilizer industry for their responsible approach to safeguarding the use of
their product. Ammonium nitrate was used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995,
and today's bill would help prevent another tragedy like this from happening
"The risk that ammonium nitrate-based fertilizer, so critical to the
agricultural operation of many of our nation's farmers, will be used by a
terrorist in an improvised explosive device must be confronted and reduced,"
said Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI). "While some states should be commended
for taking the initiative, I cannot help but think that the job of securing
ammonium nitrate should be a federal concern."
The Fertilizer Institute believes the legislation, as introduced by Reps.
Curt Weldon and Bennie Thompson, will effectively enhance the security
measures the fertilizer industry has undertaken to help keep ammonium nitrate
out of the hands of those who wish to harm our nation," said TFI President
Ford B. West. "TFI thanks Chairman Linder for scheduling this important
hearing on legislation to provide uniform, common sense security measures for
agricultural professionals and farmers who use ammonium nitrate."

SOURCE House Committee on Homeland Security - Democratic Office
Web Site: http://hsc-democrats.house.gov
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