President Signs Executive Order Seeking Ammonium Nitrate RegulationsWed, 14 Aug 2013 23:37:45 CDT
An executive order signed this month by President Barack Obama directs federal agencies to examine "new options" to address the safe storage of ammonium nitrate.
The order directs the secretaries of Homeland Security, Labor and Agriculture to develop a list of potential regulatory and legislative proposals within 90 days for the safe storage, handling and sale of ammonium nitrate.
Regulations governing the safety of ammonium nitrate fertilizer storage currently fall under a patchwork of regulation, the head of the Chemical Safety Board told a June 27 Senate panel called in the wake of the April 17 explosion at a West, Texas fertilizer distribution center that killed 15 and flattened most of the town.
The order also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to identify a list of chemicals "including poisons and reactive substances" that could be added to the list of substances covered by the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program, a DHS effort to have private sector chemical facility operators adopt security controls. CFATS has come under considerable congressional skepticism for its slowness and what critics say is inadequate risk methodology.
The order also established a Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group with three co-chairs from the departments of Homeland Security, Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The working group should work to improve chemical substance and facilities information sharing among federal agencies and between the federal government and state, local, and tribal governments.
Click here to read the executive order.
You can read a White House fact sheet on the executive order by clicking here.
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