The Fertilizer Institute Comments on the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program

As previously reported, in August the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an Ammonium Nitrate Security Program (AN Security Program) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), which represents the nation’s fertilizer producers, importers, retailers, wholesalers and companies that provide services to the fertilizer industry, recently submitted comments in response to the NPRM. The comments specifically address TFI’s concerns regarding the NPRM’s collection of information requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).

The PRA was enacted to reduce the total amount of paperwork handled by the government and general public. It requires federal agencies to obtain Office of Management and Budget approval before implementing new rules and regulations that collect information from the public.

TFI’s comments indicate it is concerned that DHS has underestimated the number of respondents that will be required to submit information under the AN Security Program. It specifically identifies several definitional ambiguities in the NPRM that could significantly alter the information collection burden. For instance, TFI notes that DHS’s misunderstanding of the technical distinction between “mixtures” of Ammonium Nitrate and “blends” of Ammonium Nitrate could potentially “…overwhelm DHS and the regulated community with information collection for a vast number of small, routine transactions within the horticulture industry (e.g., among greenhouses, nurseries, and their customers).”

A number of companies and trade organizations, including the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA), have also submitted comments on the AN Security Program NPRM. TFI intends to submit additional detailed comments about the substantive provisions of the NPRM in the near future. This is a good opportunity for your company to provide commentary, Note that, DHS will continue to accept NPRM comments from interested parties through December 1, 2011. Comments may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov under the docket number 2008-0076.

~ Ryan Loughin

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