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Kansas seeks to reinstate, retool regulations for explosives

  • Eagle Topeka bureau
  • Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at 11:40 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at 11:44 a.m.

— Kansas accidentally eliminated some of its explosives storage regulations in 2010 — unbeknownst to some blasting companies — state officials and blasting company officials said Wednesday.

Now, State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen hopes to reinstate those regulations. He said a proposal fixes oversights from 2010 and also creates new rules to better track the industry by requiring new licenses every three years and annual inspections of explosives storage sites.

“We feel that the state needs some regulations just to know how many people out there are handling and dealing with explosives,” he said, noting the potential dangers that emerge when explosives are stolen.

But industry officials say they’ve been getting permits and dealing with regulations as usual since 2010 and that the re-creation of those regulations now goes too far.

Philip Porter, general manager for Buckley Powder Company, said he wasn’t even aware regulations had been jettisoned in 2010. And he, and other companies’ leaders, say the new regulations wrapped into Senate Bill 227 over-regulate an industry that’s already heavily regulated.

“We frankly think it’s way too broad,” he said.

Industry officials say the law allows too much leeway for local and state government to enact unproven regulations that burden their businesses and don’t promote safety.

John Holliday, operations manager of the central state division of the Austin Powder Co., said new rules need more input, and he and others suggested a new advisory board that would produce new rules.

“The explosive industry is in a state of rapid technical change and development,” he said. “Many of the current regulations that are in effect from various state and federal agencies have not necessarily kept pace.”

But he said the industry ensures safe handling of explosives.

It’s unclear whether the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee will vote to advance the bill to the full Senate.

Reach Brent Wistrom at 785-296-3006 or bwistrom@wichitaeagle.com.

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