RealNews

Haulers blast federal Safe Explosives Act

U.S. railroads have stopped transporting commercial explosives because of confusion over whether a new federal law will require thousands more background checks for employees who handle materials ranging from dynamite used in mining to fireworks, industry officials say. The Safe Explosives Act, which President Bush signed in November and takes full effect May 24, is among scores of new federal policies aimed at improving homeland defense. Under current regulations, those who work at explosives companies, distributors of explosives and buyers of large amounts of such material must undergo background checks by the U.S. government. The new law’s supporters and officials at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) say the law was designed to provide tighter control over explosives dealers and those seeking permits to buy smaller amounts of explosives. ATF officials say the law will require background checks on about 20,000 people, about double the number that is now required. Full Story

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