WHERE THE HECK DID THE 911 FORUM GO????


STEVE LAMBERT

WINNIPEG (CP) - The post-9-11 world has brought new rules in Manitoba for crop-dusters, fogging machines and ammonium nitrate fertilizer - the chemical compound used in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.

Regulations recently approved by Premier Gary Doer's cabinet are designed to prevent would-be terrorists from stealing ammonium nitrate or using planes or municipal spray equipment to spread lethal chemicals.

"There are certain products and certain equipment used to apply these products that were seen to potentially cause a problem if they got into the hands of the wrong people," said Rhonda Kurtz, the province's pesticide licensing co-ordinator.

One of the new rules requires anyone who has high-density ammonium nitrate fertilizer to call the government and the RCMP whenever any amount is missing or stolen.

The rules apply to very small amounts - anything that is noticeable by the human eye.

The fertilizer is used by farmers to deliver high levels of nitrogen to crops, but can be made into an explosive if it's mixed with fuel oil.

Another new rule requires the owners of crop-dusters to inform the provincial government anytime the aircraft is leased or sold, providing the name and address of the person buying or leasing the plane as well as the purpose for which the plane will be used.

Farmers likely won't mind the new rules, but may face more paperwork, according to one of the province's main farm lobby groups.

" I think if you look at this, in most cases, it's common sense," said Weldon Newton, president of the Keystone Agricultural Producers.

"The regulations as they are, I suspect we can live with them. And I guess sometimes you wonder at what point is it no longer necessary to regulate more?"

The regulations are a follow-up to security legislation introduced by the province months after the 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. Similar rules are being worked on in other provinces, said Kurtz.

The regulations also apply to so-called fogging units - pesticide sprayers mounted on trucks and used by municipalities to control Manitoba's infamous mosquito population.

The units must now be stored in a locked location with the key stored separately. During the off-season, the fogging units will have to be disabled by removing their nozzles.

The fogging units are also subject to the same sale and lease regulations as crop-dusters.

"I think the government is taking almost a zero-risk approach at times, and I guess that's why we question how much sometimes these regulations are needed." said Newton.

The Canadian Press, 2003

08/4/2003 13:28 EST