Chicken Farmers Gearing Up To Protest Homeland Security Rules

US - Are chicken houses the next battleground in the war on terror?
calendar icon 21 August 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Chicken farmers run into trouble with the government and the propane they use.

Poultry growers are squawking mad over proposed regulations from the Department of Homeland Security that anybody with 7,500 pounds or more of propane gas register with the agency. The threshold is low enough that poultry farmers who use propane to heat chicken houses in the winter may be affected.

"It would affect almost all of us," said Jenny Rhodes, who has 80,000 roasters in Centreville. She criticized the proposal to fill out "hellacious forms" and register farmers' propane use.

"I could think of a lot easier, better targets" for terrorists than chicken farms, groused Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, a Washington-based industry group. The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and the National Turkey Federation, have also joined a protest of the proposed regulations that name propane a "chemical of interest."

The proposal would require many farmers to register with the agency and fill out a risk assessment about their propane tanks. By industry counts, up to 40,000 farms could be affected.

Maryland's two senators, Democrats Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, along with Democratic Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff requesting the rule not be adopted. The three senators said the propane registry for poultry producers may be a waste of money.

"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 this month.

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