E Summary of Presentations and Materials from Nonfederal Stakeholders

The Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials held discussions with numerous nonfederal stakeholders at its workshop, "Technical Details Relevant to the Use and Effectiveness of Taggants," on January 13 and 14, 1997, and in subsequent meetings (see Appendix C) and solicited written testimony from such groups. The committee also solicited information from a number of law enforcement agencies (see, for example, Appendix L). In addition, committee representatives described the scope and purpose of the study at the annual meeting of the International Society of Explosives Engineers and at the 7th High-Tech Seminar of Blasting Analysis International, and solicited comments and perspectives from these groups.

Among the stakeholder groups participating in discussions were the following:

  • American Pyrotechnics Association

  • Chemical Manufacturers Association

  • El Dorado Chemical

  • Institute of Makers of Explosives

  • International Society of Explosives Engineers

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

  • National Mining Association

  • National Rifle Association

  • Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute, and

  • The Fertilizer Institute

In addition, the committee solicited written testimony from many other stakeholder groups, including the following:



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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors E Summary of Presentations and Materials from Nonfederal Stakeholders The Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials held discussions with numerous nonfederal stakeholders at its workshop, "Technical Details Relevant to the Use and Effectiveness of Taggants," on January 13 and 14, 1997, and in subsequent meetings (see Appendix C) and solicited written testimony from such groups. The committee also solicited information from a number of law enforcement agencies (see, for example, Appendix L). In addition, committee representatives described the scope and purpose of the study at the annual meeting of the International Society of Explosives Engineers and at the 7th High-Tech Seminar of Blasting Analysis International, and solicited comments and perspectives from these groups. Among the stakeholder groups participating in discussions were the following: American Pyrotechnics Association Chemical Manufacturers Association El Dorado Chemical Institute of Makers of Explosives International Society of Explosives Engineers Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department National Mining Association National Rifle Association Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute, and The Fertilizer Institute In addition, the committee solicited written testimony from many other stakeholder groups, including the following:

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors Agricultural Retailers Association American Civil Liberties Union American Iron Ore Association American Portland Cement Alliance American Road and Transportation Builders Association Associated Builders and Contractors Austin Powder Company Dyno Nobel Inc. Glass Packaging Institute Goex Inc. Handgun Control Inc. ICI Explosives Indiana Limestone Institute Intel Corporation International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators International Fertilizer Development Center Johnson Matthey Electronics La Roche Industries National Industrial Sand Association National Lime Association National Stone Association National Utility Contractors Association The Associated General Contractors of America The Gypsum Association, and Wiley, Rein & Fielding (representing UNIMIN, a supplier of high-quality silica used in semiconductor manufacturing) BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF STAKEHOLDERS' POSITIONS The information provided by stakeholder groups and others was assessed as the committee conducted its study. Given below are brief descriptions of stakeholder positions culled from presentations and/or written materials supplied to the committee.1 Agricultural Retailers Association In written testimony,2 the Agricultural Retailers Association noted that it provides agricultural retailers with legislative and regulatory representation, helpful products, and information and educational resources. It supports measures to 1    Note that not all stakeholder groups contacted by the committee responded with either written or oral testimony. 2    Andrew L. Asher, Agricultural Retailers Association, May 12, 1997.

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors tag and inert relevant fertilizer components provided that the methods are environmentally sound and preserve agronomic values. American Civil Liberties Union The American Civil Liberties Union is on record3 as having opposed the "Feinstein amendment" to the 1996 Antiterrorism Bill, which proposed that transmitting bomb-making information be made a crime. American Iron Ore Association In written testimony,4 the American Iron Ore Association endorsed the statement made by the National Mining Association (see below). Fundamental issues that it believes should be thoroughly considered include potential explosives instability and related safety considerations, contamination of mined products and possible environmental impacts, and the cost of additives compared with actual benefits. American Pyrotechnics Association John A. Conkling, executive director, presented the American Pyrotechnics Association viewpoint.5 Concerns raised included the potential for wide dispersion in the environment of taggants used in fireworks, and a consequent reduction of their effectiveness for law enforcement; effects on sales and record-keeping requirements for consumer fireworks; effects on the economic competitiveness of U.S. fireworks companies faced with significant pressure from imports; and effects on fireworks distribution methods. Chemical Manufacturers Association Marybeth Kelliher, manager of international trade, presented the Chemical Manufacturers Association viewpoint about the use of taggants and possible imposition of additional controls on precursors.6 Her main concerns were product 3    "The Feinstein Amendment on Disseminating Information on Explosives," an open letter to Senator Diane Feinstein, by Laura Murphy Lee and Donald Haines, American Civil Liberties Union, http://www.aclu.org/congress/fein.html, May 26, 1995. 4    George J. Ryan, American Iron Ore Association, January 31, 1997. 5    John A. Conkling, American Pyrotechnics Association, presentation to the committee,     January 14, 1997. 6    Marybeth Kelliher, Chemical Manufacturers Association, presentation to the committee, January 14, 1997, and written material from Marybeth Kelliher and Timothy Burns, Chemical Manufacturers Association, January 27, 1997, including "Environmental Paperwork: A Baseline for Evaluating EPA's Paperwork Reduction Efforts," a report of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, April 3, 1996. See also Hopkins (1996).

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors liability and integrity. She also discussed the effectiveness of taggants for law enforcement, costs and personnel-hours required to address the possible record-keeping requirements, and effects on the competitiveness of the U.S. chemical industry, particularly with respect to required reporting as it relates to proprietary business relations. Dyno Nobel Inc. In written testimony,7 Dyno Nobel Inc. indicated that ammonium nitrate desensitized by the addition of limestone or according to the Porter patent8 can still be used as an explosive component in both its diluted and concentrated forms. The company reported that it has conducted tests to verify this position. El Dorado Chemical Paul Rydlund, vice president of El Dorado Chemical, discussed the production of both high-density, fertilizer-grade and low-density, explosive-grade ammonium nitrate.9 He pointed out that among the difficulties associated with possible tagging approaches for this bulk explosive chemical is the fact that it is usually transported and stored as a bulk, unpackaged material, allowing significant comingling of material between different batches or even suppliers. Glass Packaging Institute In written testimony,10 the Glass Packaging Institute indicated that the unqualified introduction of taggants into explosives could have an adverse effect on production and finances for U.S. glass container manufacturers. Institute of Makers of Explosives J. Christopher Ronay, president of the Institute of Makers of Explosives, presented the institute's viewpoint.11 It endorses the use of detection taggants in plastic explosives and supports a national licensing program for purchasers or 7    Robert A. Bingham, Dyno Nobel Inc., January 23, 1997. 8    See discussion in Chapter 4. 9    Paul Rydlund, El Dorado Chemical, presentation to the committee, March 3, 1997. 10    Lewis D. Andrews, Jr., Glass Packaging Institute, February 6, 1997. 11    J. Christopher Ronay, Institute of Makers of Explosives, including a letter addressing alternatives to identification tagging of explosives, March 28, 1997; tagging explosives in Switzerland; tagging program costs; "Security and Forensic Science as Applied to Modern Explosives" presented at Glasgow, Scotland, on December 9, 1996; and congressional testimony before the House Judiciary Committee relating to tagging in explosives on June 13, 1995, including a fact sheet relating to tagging in commercial explosives.

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors possessors of commercial explosives. However, it opposes the use of identification taggants—particularly the Microtrace Inc. product—in explosive materials, stating that they can pose safety risks, will have an adverse effect on the environment and on mined products, will have minimal law enforcement benefits, and will present significant issues regarding costs and economic competitiveness. Intel Corporation In written testimony,12 Intel Corporation expressed its concern that adding taggants and/or tracers to explosives could adversely affect the semiconductor raw material supply chain by contaminating quartz ore and negatively affecting industrial economics. International Fertilizer Development Center In a separate, written report (IFDC, 1997) to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the International Fertilizer Development Center presented its findings from its mandated companion study on increasing regulatory controls, rendering inert, or adding markers to nitrate-based fertilizers and possible economic impacts on the industry. The center recommended that no tagging, inerting, or additional regulatory controls be placed on nitrate-based fertilizers. International Society of Explosives Engineers Jeffrey L. Dean, executive director and general counsel, presented the International Society of Explosives Engineers viewpoint,13 which included support for a national licensing program for purchasers or possessors of commercial explosives, increased controls on the proliferation of information on improvised explosives, support for explosives detection technologies, and the use of detection taggants in plastic explosives. Johnson Matthey Electronics In written testimony,14 Johnson Matthey Electronics expressed its concern that taggants could contaminate metals that are processed into electronic-grade materials used in fabricating Johnson Matthey products such as sputtering targets and thermocouples. 12    Gerhard H. Parker, Intel Corporation, May 2, 1997. 13   Jeffrey L. Dean, International Society of Explosives Engineers, presentation to the committee and written testimony, January 14, 1997. See also Dean (1997a,b). 14    Jack D. Bolick, Johnson Matthey Electronics, April 29, 1997.

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. Thomas Spencer and Sgt. Howard Rechtshaffen, members of the bomb squad of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, indicated that while taggant approaches could offer another tool to locate and convict criminals, new legislation requiring taggants would not address the substantial quantities of explosive materials already in the hands of the public.15 They also indicated a strong preference for preblast detection technologies rather than postblast identification schemes. National Industrial Sand Association In written testimony,16 the National Industrial Sand Association expressed its concern that the unqualified introduction of identification taggants into explosives could compromise the businesses of U.S. producers of glass sand and high-purity quartz. It cited possible increased costs and reduced product quality. National Mining Association Terry O'Connor, vice president of external affairs for ARCO Coal Company, discussed the concerns of the National Mining Association.17 He indicated that the mining industry uses approximately 90 percent of the more than 5 billion pounds of commercial explosives produced each year. The National Mining Association endorses the use of detection taggants (such as the International Civil Aviation Organization detection markers) in plastic explosives. However, it opposes broad requirements to include identification taggants in explosive materials because of concerns about safety, contamination of mined products and dispersal issues, and cost and economic competitiveness issues. It foresees minimal law enforcement benefit and adverse effects on the environment. National Rifle Association Tanya K. Metaksa, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action,18 noted the organization's strong support for an independent assessment of taggants, particularly for black and smokeless powder, 15    Thomas Spencer and Howard Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, presentation to the committee, January 13, 1997. 16    Gerald C. Hurley, National Industrial Sand Association, March 13, 1997. 17    Terry O'Connor, National Mining Association, January 13, 1997. 18    Tanya K. Metaksa, National Rifle Association, presentation to the committee and written testimony, January 14, 1997, and follow-on information, February 21, 1997. See also American Rifleman, March 1997.

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors and a strong focus on bombing prevention technologies rather than explosive tagging methods. Concerns included safety, cost, possible deleterious effects on firearms, and the usefulness of taggants in law enforcement. Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute James J. Baker, Donald H. Burton, and Kenneth Green presented the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute viewpoint19 on the use of taggants in black and smokeless powders, including concerns about the possible effects of taggants on safety, the manufacturing process, distribution, ballistic performance, and cost-effectiveness. The Fertilizer Institute Gary Myers, president, and Ford West, vice president, presented the views of the Fertilizer Institute. They also discussed "Be Aware for America"—a cooperative industry program to encourage reporting of suspicious sales of fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate.20 SUMMARY-STAKEHOLDERS' CONCERNS Viewed collectively, the various concerns of stakeholders can be grouped as follows: Potential for adverse environmental effects from widespread use of taggants; Lack of or minimal additional usefulness of taggants for law enforcement; Safety risks due to incompatibilities between taggants and explosives; Significant cost impacts on tagged explosives and resultant loss of commercial competitiveness; Contamination of mined products following blasting, necessitating additional purification steps or rejection of products; and Record-keeping burden and distribution requirements. 19    Written testimony provided by James J. Baker, Donald H. Burton, and Kenneth Green, Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute, January 14, 1997. 20    The program and publicity materials were developed collaboratively in 1995 and are described in a brochure, "Be Aware for America: 1995," developed by the Fertilizer Institute; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; the Association of American Plant Food Officials; and the Agricultural Retailers Association.