It is being questioned whether chicken coops may be
the next battleground in the war on terror?
The Department of Homeland Security has proposed regulations that would
label propane gas a "chemical of interest" and require anybody with 7,500 pounds
or more of the fuel to register with the agency. However, poultry growers are
At that amount, poultry farmers who use propane to heat chicken houses
would have to fill out the forms.
"I could think of a lot easier, better targets for terrorists than chicken
farms," groused Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken Council. The
U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the National Turkey Federation have
joined the protests.
By industry counts, up to 40,000 farms could be affected by the security
proposal. The government, however, argues that the registration rule is
important to protect the country.
Maryland's two senators, Democrats Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, along
with Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary
Michael Chertoff asking that the rule be shelved.
"Given the serious threats that are currently facing our country and the
limited resources of the Department of Homeland Security, please explain why
this initiative is a good use of federal dollars," the senators wrote earlier
The agency's right
Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said the agency is
right to compile data on dangerous chemicals, even in rural areas, and said
farmers would only need to spend "a couple hours" online to comply.
Bill Satterfield, who runs the Delaware-based Delmarva Poultry Industry
trade group, said people are not at risk from propane tanks on chicken farms.
"It's ridiculous. Poultry farms are not near population centres. An exploding
propane tank would do little harm to the chicken houses, much less any other
buildings on the farm, much less anybody else," Satterfield said.