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DHS/OS RIN: 1601-AA52 Publication ID: Fall 2014 
Title: Ammonium Nitrate Security Program 

This rulemaking will implement the December 2007 amendment to the Homeland Security Act entitled "Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate." The amendment requires the Department of Homeland Security to "regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate by an ammonium nitrate prevent the misappropriation or use of ammonium nitrate in an act of terrorism."

Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Private Sector 
CFR Citation: 6 CFR 31   
Legal Authority: PL 110-161, 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, sec 563, subtitle J--Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
NPRM  Statutory  Publication of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking  05/26/2008 
Final  Statutory  Publication of Final Rule  12/26/2008 

Statement of Need:

Pursuant to section 563 of the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, subtitle J--Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate, Public Law 110-161, the Department of Homeland Security is required to promulgate a rulemaking to create a registration regime for certain buyers and sellers of ammonium nitrate. This rule would create that regime, and would aid the Federal Government in its efforts to protect against the misappropriation of ammonium nitrate for use in acts of terrorism. By protecting against such misappropriation, this rule could limit terrorists' abilities to threaten the public and to threaten the Nation's critical infrastructure and key resources. By securing the Nation's supply of ammonium nitrate, it should be much more difficult for terrorists to obtain ammonium nitrate materials for use in improvised explosive devices. As a result, there is a direct value in the deterrence of a catastrophic terrorist attack using ammonium nitrate, such as the Oklahoma City attack that killed over 160 and injured 853 people.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Section 563 of the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, subtitle J--Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate, Public Law 110-161, authorizes and requires this rulemaking.


The Department considered several alternatives when developing the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program proposed rule. The alternatives considered were: (a) register individuals applying for an AN registered user number using a paper application (via facsimile or the U.S. mail) rather than through in person application at a local cooperative extension office or only through a Web-based portal; (b) verify AN purchasers through both an Internet-based verification portal and call center rather than only a verification portal or call center; (c) communicate with applicants for an AN registered user number through U.S. Mail rather than only through email or a secure Web-based portal; (d) establish a specific capability within the Department to receive, process, and respond to reports of theft or loss rather than leverage a similar capability which already exists with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); (e) require AN facilities to maintain records electronically in a central database provided by the Department rather than providing flexibility to the AN facility to maintain their own records either in paper or electronically; (f) require agents to register with the Department prior to the sale or transfer of ammonium nitrate involving an agent rather than allow oral confirmation of the agent with the AN purchaser on whose behalf the agent is working; and (g) exempt explosives from this regulation rather than not exempting them. As part of its notice of proposed rulemaking, the Department sought public comment on the numerous alternative ways in which the Department could carry out the requirements of the Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate provisions of the Homeland Security Act.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

In its proposed rule, the Department estimated the number of entities that purchase ammonium nitrate to range from 64,950 to 106,200. These purchasers include farms, fertilizer mixers, farm supply wholesalers and cooperatives (co-ops), golf courses, landscaping services, explosives distributors, mines, retail garden centers, and lab supply wholesalers. The Department estimated the number of entities that sell ammonium nitrate to be between 2,486 and 6,236, many of which are also purchasers. These sellers include ammonium nitrate fertilizer and explosive manufacturers, fertilizer mixers, farm supply wholesalers and co-ops, retail garden centers, explosives distributors, fertilizer applicator services, and lab supply wholesalers. Individuals or firms that provide transportation services within the distribution chain may be categorized as sellers, agents, or facilities depending upon their business relationship with the other parties to the transaction. The total number of potentially regulated farms and other businesses ranges from 64,986 to 106,236 (including overlap between the categories). The cost of the proposed rule ranges from $300 million to $1,041 million over 10 years at a 7 percent discount rate. The primary estimate is the mean which is $670.6 million. For comparison, at a 3 percent discount rate, the cost of the program ranges from $364 million to $1.3 billion with a primary (mean) estimate of $814 million. The average annualized cost for the program ranges from $43 million to $148 million (with a mean of $96 million), also employing a 7 percent discount rate. Because the value of the benefits of reducing risk of a terrorist attack is a function of both the probability of an attack and the value of the consequence, it is difficult to identify the particular risk reduction associated with the implementation of this rule. These elements and related qualitative benefits include point of sale identification requirements and requiring individuals to be screened against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), resulting in known bad actors being denied the ability to purchase ammonium nitrate. The Department of Homeland Security aims to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States and to reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism. By preventing the misappropriation or use of ammonium nitrate in acts of terrorism, this rulemaking will support the Department's efforts to prevent terrorist attacks and reduce the Nation's vulnerability to terrorist attacks. This rulemaking is complementary to other Department programs seeking to reduce the risks posed by terrorism, including the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program (which seeks in part to prevent terrorists from gaining access to dangerous chemicals) and the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program (which seeks in part to prevent terrorists from gaining access to certain critical infrastructure), among other programs.


Explosives containing ammonium nitrate are commonly used in terrorist attacks. Such attacks have been carried out both domestically and internationally. The 1995 Murrah Federal Building attack in Oklahoma City claimed the lives of 167 individuals and demonstrated firsthand to America how ammonium nitrate could be misused by terrorists. In addition to the Murrah Building attack, the Provisional Irish Republican Army used ammonium nitrate as part of its London, England, bombing campaign in the early 1980s. More recently, ammonium nitrate was used in the 1998 East African Embassy bombings and in the November 2003 bombings in Istanbul, Turkey. Additionally, since the events of 9/11, stores of ammonium nitrate have been confiscated during raids on terrorist sites around the world, including sites in Canada, England, India, and the Philippines.

Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  10/29/2008  73 FR 64280   
Correction  11/05/2008  73 FR 65783   
ANPRM Comment Period End  12/29/2008    
NPRM  08/03/2011  76 FR 46908   
Notice of Public Meetings  10/07/2011  76 FR 62311   
Notice of Public Meetings  11/14/2011  76 FR 70366   
NPRM Comment Period End  12/01/2011    
Final Rule  04/00/2015 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: Yes 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:   Public Comment URL:  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Jon MacLaren
Group Leader, Strategic Policy and Rulemaking
Department of Homeland Security
National Protection and Programs Directorate, Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (NPPD/ISCD), 245 Murray Lane SW, Mail Stop 0610,
Arlington, VA 20528-0610
Phone:703 235-5263
Fax:703 603-4935