ANSP is the proposed regulatory program developed by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) 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."
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical that exists in multiple concentrations and physical forms. It’s principally used as an agricultural fertilizer, and 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.
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 to:
- Regulate transactions involving the sale or transfer of ammonium nitrate at the point of sale
- Establish procedures for reporting a theft or loss of ammonium nitrate
- Require businesses to keep records of all ammonium nitrate transactions for two years
ANSP Proposed Rulemaking
Under the proposed program, each purchaser and seller will be required to apply for an Ammonium Nitrate (AN) Registered User Number with DHS, and each applicant will be vetted against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). Upon successful completion of the vetting process, approved individuals will be issued an AN Registered User Number, which will allow them to engage in the sale, purchase, or transfer of ammonium nitrate.
Transactions involving the sale or transfer of ammonium nitrate will be regulated at the point of sale and procedures for reporting a theft or loss of ammonium nitrate will be established. Ammonium nitrate sellers will 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; or
- Are not authorized by a person possessing a valid AN Registered User Number to act on their behalf as an agent
The regulation will require businesses to keep records of all ammonium nitrate transactions for two years, and DHS may inspect and audit facility records to ensure compliance.
Read more about the statues and regulations that govern ammonium nitrate.
Priority Precursor Chemicals Study
On November 11, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (the Academies) 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 home-made 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.