Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking public comment on the proposed rule for the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program. The purpose of the rule is to preven the use of ammonium nitrate in an act of terrorism by regulating the chemical's sale and transfer.
Public meetings will provide the public with the opportunity to be briefed on the basics of the proposed rule and to learn how to provide comments on it.
Department of Justice Announces New Acting Director of ATF and Senior Advisor in the Office of Legal Policy
WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice today announced the appointments of U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota B. Todd Jones to serve as Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson to become Senior Advisor on forensic science in the Office of Legal Policy (OLP).
“As a seasoned prosecutor and former military judge advocate, U.S. Attorney Jones is a demonstrated leader who brings a wealth of experience to this position,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “I have great confidence that he will be a strong and steady influence guiding ATF in fulfilling its mission of combating violent crime by enforcing federal criminal laws and regulations in the firearms and explosives industries.”
Jones will continue to serve in the capacity of U.S. Attorney when he assumes the role of ATF acting director on Aug. 31, 2011.
A veteran of the Justice Department, Jones has served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota under two presidential administrations. He first served from 1998 to 2001. He was nominated again in 2009 by President Obama and has been in that role since being confirmed that year.
In 2009, the Attorney General appointed him to serve as chair of the Attorney General Advisory Committee (AGAC), a group of U.S. Attorneys appointed to advise the Attorney General on policy, management and operational issues affecting U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. Jones previously served as a member, vice chair and chair of the AGAC from 1999 to 2001.
During his several years as a federal prosecutor, Jones conducted grand jury investigations and has been the lead trial lawyer in many federal prosecutions involving drug trafficking, firearms, financial fraud and violent crime.
Throughout his career, Jones has served as a partner with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi (2001-2009); a partner with Greene Espel, PLLP (2001; 1994-1997); First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota (1997-1998); and Assistant U.S. Attorney (1992-1994).
Following admission to the Minnesota bar, Jones went on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as both a trial defense counsel and prosecutor in a number of courts martial proceedings.
Jones received his B.A. from Macalester College in 1979 and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1983.
Melson will join OLP on Aug. 31, 2011, in his new role as senior advisor where he will focus on issues relating to policy development in forensic science.
“Ken brings decades of experience at the department and extensive knowledge in forensic science to his new role and I know he will be a valuable contributor on these issues,” said Attorney General Holder. “As he moves into this new role, I want to thank Ken for his dedication to the department over the last three decades.”
He is a past president and distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and currently participates on behalf of the department on the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. He has been an adjunct professor at George Washington University for almost 30 years teaching both law and forensic science courses.
Melson was appointed acting director of ATF in 2009. Prior to that, he was director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and served several years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Melson received his B.A. from Denison University in 1970 and his J.D. from George Washington University in 1973.
The ATF has issued a press release in regards to the upcoming 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The release can be found here.
DHS has proposed an ammonium nitrate security rule that will be published in the Federal Register. The comment period will be open for 120 days, but any comments on the information collection burden of the rule is due within 60 days of publication. You can find Secretary Napolitano's press release on the subject here.
June 2011 Congressman Graves from Missouri has written a letter to key members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee concerning HM Safety Permit reform and provided recommendations on how hazmat law might be amended to address the concerns he identified. To read the full letter click here.
May 2011 Kentucky General Assembly has implemented new requirements for KRS 351.315(4) which outlines the requirements for approval of blaster training and conference hours. To read all the requirements click here, or visit the site here for more information.
09/02/2010 KY Explosives and Blasting Branchis notifying the blasting industry about changes in the training requirements in Kentucky in regards to KY HB 268 which passed in the spring of 2010...·Visit here for more information.
06/10/10 NY State Department of Labor - Occupational Licensing...........The Commissioner of Labor is promulgating a new occupational licensing regulation that provides uniform rules for all occupational licenses and replaces the separate regulations that existed for each occupation......Visit www.labor.ny.gov/go/cr61 for more information.
06/03/10 Missouri University of Science and Technology Breaks Ground ...........On April 20th, a ground blasting ceremony was held at the Missouri University of Science and Technology's Experimental Mine facility...........Read Full Press Release.
06/02/10 Interim Order Respecting the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Into, Through or Within Controlled Access Zones ...........Transport Canada has posted the Interim Order respecting the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (Into, Through or Within Controlled Access Zone) for road for the G-20. Click here to Read Full Story.
04/28/10 Missouri S&T to Offer Master's Degree in Explosives Engineering...........The State of Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education (or CBHE) has approved the new master of science degree in explosives engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Missouri S&T, the technological campus of the University of Missouri system, became the first university in the nation to offer undergraduate and post-graduate minors in explosives engineering in 2005........Read Full Details.
04/22/10 PHMSA Announces New On-Line Hazardous Materials Special Permit Application Process...........WASHINGTON, D.C. - Applications for hazardous materials special permits will be reviewed in a more timely and efficient manner as a result of a new on-line application process being launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and its Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The new system takes effect May 1st.............Read Full Details.
4/07/10 US DOT Issues Management Advisory on Weaknesses in the Safety Oversight of Explosives Classification Approvals to PHMSA...... The House T&I Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials has posted a new Management Advisory. The advisory specifically targets weaknesses identified by the DOT Office of Inspector General in the PHMSA explosives approvals program. The report may be viewed at http://transportation.house.gov/Media/file/Rail/PHMSA%20MA.PDF
PHMSA Response to OIG Approvals Lab Report and Establishment of Safety Review Board......Downloadthe documents below to see PHMSA’s response to the OIG Lab report, and the announcement establishing the agency’s safety review board.
PHMSA Response to OIG Approvals Lab Report.pdf
PHMSA Safety Review Board.pdf
3/10/10 PHMSA Issues Final Ruling on HM-208H.......PHMSA has amended its Registration and Fee Assessment Program for Hazardous Materials Transportation. PHMSA is increasing fees for those that do not qualify as a small business or not-for-profit organization. Fees are increasing to $2,600.00 (including a $25 administrative fee) for registration year 2010-2011 and following years. This is a $1,000.00 increase from previous years. This increase is to fund the national Hazardous Material Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants program. Effective date of this final rule is April 29, 2010. Download PDF to Read Full Ruling.
3/10/10 PHMSA Issues Report on Special Permits Program........On March 4, DOT issued its report on the DOT Inspector General's findings and recommendations entitled "New Approaches Needed in Managing PHMSA's Special Permits and Approvals Program". Click hereto view the document. The report contains strong criticism of the PHMSA program such as failure to "(1) adequately review applicants' safety histories, (2) ensure applicants will provide an acceptable level of safety, (3) coordinate with the affected Operating Administrations, and (4) conduct regular compliance reviews of individual and companies that have been granted special permits and approvals".
3/10/10 PHMSA Publishes HM-232F Final Rule........PHMSA published its HM-232F final rule in the March 9, 2010 Federal Register. The rule revises the list of substances that require the preparation of a security plan. Currently any hazmat shipment requiring placarding is subject to security plan requirements described in 172.800. See the Federal Register for the revised list of substances requiring a security plan. Download PDF.
3/05/10 Explosives Inspectorate of Queensland, Australia Issues Safety Alert on Waste Ammonium Nitrate Reaction.........This alert is to advise persons involved with the management of ammonium nitrate of the hazards in relation to contaminated and waste ammonium nitration. This alert provides important important safety information for all persons involved with the storage, handling transport, manufacture, use, import and export of ammonium nitrate. Download PDF to Read Full Alert.
2/20/10 TSA Expanding Explosive Trace Detection Measures at Airports Nationwide.........The U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced it will begin randomly swabbing passengers' hands at U.S. airports to check for traces of explosive materials in the coming weeks. Describing the policy as "an additional layer of security", TSA said it initially went into effect on a limited basis at five previously unidentified airports.........Read Full Story.
1/20/10 ATF Announces Final Rule on Storage of Shock Tube.........WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today announced a final rule amending regulations in 27 CFR Part 555 to allow storage of shock tube with detonators, because these materials when stored together do not pose a mass detonation hazard. The final rule appears in today's issue of the Federal Register. The rule can be found at http://www.atf.gov/regulations-rulings/rulemakings/final-interim.html. More information on ATF and its programs and resources is atwww.atf.gov.
1/08/10 ATF Publishes 2009 List of Explosive Materials Subject to Law.........The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) published a notice in the Federal Register on January 8, 2010 containing the list of 237 explosive materials that are subject to federal law and implementing regulations..........Read Press Release.
01/07/10 Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Issues Permit Revisions - Effective Date Change.........PHMSA has issued a revision of special permits DOT-SP 8554, DOT-SP 10751, DOT-SP 11579 and DOT-SP 12677. Visit the Issue Briefs page in the Grass Roots Center to download the PDF files.