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U.S. Homeland Security proposes new rules to avoid misuse of Ammonium Nitrate.

Oklahoma City terror attack and The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building two days after the bombing

WASHINGTON—Department of  Homeland Security DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has proposed new rulemaking for the creation of the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program, as a measure to secure potentially dangerous chemicals.

“In today’s ever-evolving threat environment, we must continually reinforce the security of substances, such as ammonium nitrate, which can be used for legitimate purposes or exploited by terrorists,” said Secretary Napolitano in a DHS press release. “Creating the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program is a critical step forward in our continued efforts to ensure the security of potentially dangerous amounts of ammonium nitrate, while still facilitating legitimate everyday use.”

Ammonium nitrate is primarily used in fertilizers, buit it has also been used as a main component in powerful explosives for attacks including the Oklahoma City bombing, the London bombings, the recent bombing in Oslo and other acts of terrorism around the world.

DHS has proposed the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program to regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate while decreasing the burden on those who purchase or transfer ammonium nitrate for legitimate uses.

The proposed Ammonium Nitrate Security Program will increase security by working with domestic purchasers to validate legitimate use. It would also require those selling ammonium nitrate to retain records and report theft or loss of ammonium nitrate to federal authorities within 24 hours of discovery.

The proposed program builds on other DHS efforts already established to protect the U.S. from the potential misuse of ammonium nitrate. The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program regulates the security of high-risk chemical facilities while the Bomb Making Awareness Program and the Voluntary Chemical Assessment Tool (VCAT) help businesses identify suspicious purchases and support owners and operators to assess their facilities’ risk.

In cooperation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives ATF, the DHS has also cosponsored the “America’s Security Begins with You” Program, which encourages ammonium nitrate suppliers to report suspicious activity. This complements the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, which provides vendors with the means to report suspicious transactions to law enforcement.