Rocket Fuel Fight Update

It's the government's move in the ongoing legal battle over the popular model rocket propellant, APCP.

As I reported
here, in considering whether the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives properly classified APCP as an "explosive," a unanimous US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found for the plaintiff rocket hobbyists and remanded the matter to the Bureau. (Tripoli Rocketry Association, Inc. and National Association of Rocketry v. BATFE Feb 10, 2006).

Mark Bundick, president of NAR and Ken Good, president of TRA now update members and hobby rocket lovers on the case;
via Rand Simberg who has been following the action. Here is a summary:

  • On Feb 17, ATF indicated that it "will be accepting the Court's offer to generate a more thorough, coherent administrative record that demonstrates the agency's efforts to test and analyze APCP as an explosive material."

  • Nothing will happen until the Appeals Court formally issues its "mandate", the legal order from the Appellate Court to the District Court.

  • A 45 day time period must pass to allow ATF to petition the Appeals Court to rehear the case. Counsel does not believe any sound legal reasons exist to request a rehearing. ATF could also seek to appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court. Counsel believes this is even more unlikely than a request for a rehearing. [Note: no way in heck the High Court grants cert here.-JL]

  • Assuming there is no rehearing request and no appeal request is sent to the Supreme Court, the mandate would be issued about a week after the 45 day period passes. The District Court would then issue a formal order remanding the classification of APCP to BATFE.

  • Plaintiffs "have collected and are prepared to present even more scientific evidence to demonstrate APCP burns at rates far below those considered to be deflagrating. Many everyday materials (e.g. gasoline, cleaning solvents) used in their "primary or common purpose" burn at rates similar to APCP and yet are not listed as regulated explosives."

  • Members are welcome to suggest additional sources for burn rate data and tests that can be used in support of our position.

  • Counsel has advised that pending further court action, APCP classification and related regulatory requirements remain in effect. Member currently holding Low Explosive User Permits (LEUP) approaching renewal dates should consider proceeding with their renewals as we do not know any firm dates for court action at this time.

  • Members who either are threatened or receive BATFE enforcement action should immediately contact NAR.

  • A status hearing before the District Court is tentatively on the court's schedule for July 2006.

  • Congressional support of Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) is appreciated.

    More fireworks to follow.
    * * *

    UPDATE: Over at the Rocket Dungeon I see Dick Stafford has posted the full text of the TRA/NAR joint statement (since the page its on is not a permalink). Hit tip to Dick, who, by the way, is a member of TRA and NAR, level-2 certified.

  • << Home

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?