The Ammonium Nitrate Security Program (ANSP) is the proposed regulatory program developed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in response to a directive from Congress to "regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate by an ammonium nitrate facility ... to prevent the misappropriation or use of ammonium nitrate in an act of terrorism." See Section 563 of the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Subtitle J, Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate, Public Law 110–161.
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical that exists in multiple concentrations and physical forms. It is principally used as an agricultural fertilizer, in the manufacturing of first aid products (such as cold packs), and explosives used in the mining and construction industries. In addition to its many legitimate uses, ammonium nitrate was the primary explosive used in the deadly Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995.
ANSP Proposed Rulemaking (August 2011)
The ANSP Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeks to reduce the likelihood of a terrorist attack involving ammonium nitrate by:
- Creating a registration program for purchasers and sellers of ammonium nitrate.
- Regulating transactions involving the sale or transfer of ammonium nitrate at the point of sale.
- Establishing procedures for reporting a theft or loss of ammonium nitrate.
- Requiring businesses to keep records of all ammonium nitrate transactions for two years.
Under the proposed program, each purchaser and seller would be required to apply for an Ammonium Nitrate (AN) Registered User Number with CISA, and each applicant would be vetted against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). Upon successful completion of the vetting process, approved individuals would be issued an AN Registered User Number that would allow them to engage in the sale, purchase, or transfer of ammonium nitrate.
Transactions involving the sale or transfer of ammonium nitrate would be regulated at the point of sale and procedures for reporting a theft or loss of ammonium nitrate would be established. Ammonium nitrate sellers would be required to deny sale or transfer of ammonium nitrate to individuals who:
- Do not possess a valid AN Registered User Number accompanied by a valid photo ID.
- Are not authorized by a person possessing a valid AN Registered User Number to act on their behalf as an agent.
The regulation would require businesses to keep records of all ammonium nitrate transactions for two years, and CISA may inspect and audit facility records to ensure compliance.
Read more about the statues and regulations that govern the security of ammonium nitrate.
Priority Precursor Chemicals Study (November 2017)
On November 11, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) released the report on “Reducing the Threat of Improvised Explosive Device Attacks by Restricting Access to Explosive Precursor Chemicals,” researching possible paths forward to safeguard the Nation’s people, infrastructure, and economy from terrorist use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The NAS report analyzed chemicals that have been used in IEDs either in the U.S. or internationally or are susceptible for use in IEDs. The study also developed a prioritized list of precursor chemicals used to make homemade explosives, analyzed commercial supply chains and identified potential vulnerabilities, examined United States and international regulation of the chemicals, and compared economic, security, and other tradeoffs among potential control strategies.
Technical Assessments Report (June 2019)
On June 3, 2019, the CISA published a notice of availability of the Sandia National Laboratory’s (SNL) Redacted Ammonium Nitrate Security Program Technical Assessments Report in the Federal Register (84 FR 25495) in connection with the proposed rule entitled “Ammonium Nitrate Security Program.” The redacted SNL report can be accessed in the Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Program docket (DHS-2008-0076). Comments were accepted through September 3, 2019.