PA Charging Ahead with Stringent Security Regulations
On December 21, 2004
The PADEP is charging ahead with a direct final rule that will implement stringent new security requirements for explosives despite pleas by industry to allow for public comment. The commonwealth's administrative procedures give broad authority to PA agencies. Despite several administrative hurdles ahead, there is essentially no chance that the regulation can be killed by reviewing bodies, only that it can be modified. See PADEP's announcement.
There appears to be little willingness on the part of PADEP and their proponents, the PA Office of Homeland Security (OHS) and the PA State Police (PSP) to make modifications. For example, one of the concessions granted to industry was an allowance to not have to inspect an empty magazine every 24-hours. PADEP plans implementation in March, 2005 with publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin; at which point the public will be informed of the new requirements, most of which will have to be implemented in 180 days.
PADEP has done no cost benefit analysis of any of the proposed requirements. IME estimates that the new requirements will cost at least $34 million; that from an industry whose gross sales are about $50 million annually.
Copies of the proposed regulations as revised since the copy distributed December 7, 2004 were not provided to participants. Copies of the regulation might be available on "the DEP website" after January 4, 2005.
When questioned why there are no similar efforts at the federal or any other state level, OHS responded by saying that federal authorities have failed to recognize the extreme vulnerability of the explosive industry within PA and they must act immediately. When asked what they were doing about lax sentencing of individuals convicted of explosives theft and the materials used by bombers nearly all the time which are freely available with no restrictions, their reply was that these issues were beyond their purview. The officials clearly indicated that other hazardous materials were next on their list for new security regulations.