LUNAR Legislative Alert 5/20/2003

Further Info on NPRM Comments

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From: "Mark B. Bundick" 
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 04:29:37 -0500
Subject: [NAR_Sections] Further Info on NPRM Comments

Some folks requested reposting of information about what to put in their 
response, and the details about where to send it.  What follows is an 
abbreviated version of a joint NAR / TRA statement issued back in March. 
I modified the dates to correspond to the new closing period. When I have
the final version of the NAR's comment letter, I'll post that as well.

Cheers, Bunny

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BATFE is required by law to address all substantive comments received from 
all interested parties, and must directly address the concerns raised in 
public comments.

While both NAR and TRA will offer comments on behalf of our Associations
as a whole, members are strongly encouraged to offer their own individual 

The following non-exclusive list of issues and ideas is presented to 
stimulate those comments:

  * Identify and discuss the reasons for and length of time you have 
    been engaged in the model rocket hobby, and the enjoyment you receive as
    a result of that participation.

  * Describe the type of rockets and rocket motors you have flown and 
    are currently flying, why you prefer certain types or sizes of rockets
    and rocket motors, and how often you fly them.

  * Quantify the amount of APCP (or other type of rocket motor fuel) 
    that you typically have on-hand -- with a particular focus on, for
    example, a recommendation (see below) for revising the proposed 
    exemption to address the total amount stored as opposed to the weight 
    of or type of rocket motors.

  * Discuss the safety controls to which you adhere with regard to 
    purchasing, storing, transporting, and flying rockets and rocket motors, 
    including any specific memberships in national organizations and what
    such membership means to you in terms of safety.

  * Identify and discuss the nature of your interactions with BATFE, 
    including as applicable applying for permits or licenses and
    participating in site inspections.

  * Identify and discuss the timing of those interactions, for example, 
    when did you first start dealing with BATFE, how have those relationships
    changed over time, and what problems or difficulties you may have

  * Quantify the approximate amount of money you spend each year on
    the hobby, and if possible specify what amounts you spend on safety and what 
    amounts you spend on compliance with BATFE's requests.

  * If possible and as appropriate, comment on the specific effect
    that BATFE's proposed rule will have on you or others you know, including 
    for example restrictions on continued enjoyment of the hobby, increased 
    costs to participate in the hobby, etc.

  * If possible, respond to BATFE's position that the proposed rule
    will not have a significant economic effect on small businesses by 
    identifying specific effects of which you are aware -- for example, 
    your hobby shop will no longer carry what you need -- and any associated 
    impacts of which you are aware -- for example, limiting or wholly 
    precluding your future purchases, or increasing their cost.

Be as specific and detailed as possible by providing names and dates,
quote (as nearly as possible) oral statements that were made to you, refer to 
specific documents (but attach them only if necessary and if not lengthy), 
and include specific dollar amounts as appropriate.

Your letter should conclude with an opinion on the proposed rulemaking
that is based upon your specific comments. In that regard, please be aware
that the hobby's position, as reflected in documents filed on behalf of the 
national organizations in the ongoing litigation with BATFE, is that
BATFE lacks the legal authority to regulate APCP in rocket motors as an
explosive because:

  1. APCP does not "function by explosion," which is the operative
     phrase used in the governing statute that would be the basis for 
     regulation, and

  2. Rockets are "propellant actuated devices," which is the term of
     art long used to describe certain items that are wholly exempt from 
     BATFE's explosives regulations.

Accordingly, Tripoli Rocketry Association, Inc. and National Association
of Rocketry do not believe that BATFE's proposed rulemaking is properly 
grounded in the law.

Nevertheless, given BATFE's unwillingness to accept to that position 
(until, hopefully, the Court so orders), your comments should also
include recommendations for improving upon the proposed rule. Any such 
recommendations should be based upon your comments. For example, you
might suggest that certain words be changed or deleted, including the 
applicability of the exemption to single use motors or reload kits. 
Alternatively, you could propose increasing the exempted weight limit
from 62.5 grams to another suitable number. In that regard, consider 
whether a "blanket" exemption for a total amount of APCP, regardless 
of motor size or characteristic, would better serve your particular 
interests and needs.

Procedure for Submitting Your Comments

Only written (as opposed to oral) comments are to be submitted. (However,
if you desire an opportunity to comment orally, a request to that effect 
may be included in your comments.) Your written comments should be 
addressed to:

     ATTN: Notice No. 968
     James P. Ficaretta, Program Manager
     Room 5150
     U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
     P.O. Box 50221
     Washington, D.C. 20091-0221

In addition, your written comments should be titled, "Response to Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking No. 968, Commerce in Explosives (2000R-9P), 68 Fed. 
Reg. 4406 (Jan. 29, 2003)."

You may submit your comments in one of three forms:

     * by letter mailed via the U.S. mail to the above specified address;
     * by facsimile transmission to (202) 927-8525; or
     * by email to

Please note that if you are submitting comments via facsimile
transmission, your comments cannot be longer than five pages. 
Also, be aware that email submission of NPRM comments is a recent, and 
relatively untested method of submission. There could be technological 
bugs involved in this process, and as a result, we recommend submission 
of written comments, not email comments.

Your written comments need not be typed; however, they should be legible 
when printed on standard 8.5" x 11" paper. (Although not required by 
BATFE's Notice, if you are emailing your comments it is recommended that 
you prepare your comments using a word processing software program if 
possible and to then attach that file to the email transmission as
opposed to submitting your comments in the text portion of an email message.)
Your comments must be signed and include your name and mailing address.
However, if you are submitting your comments via email, in lieu of a 
signature you should provide your email address.

Please note that the entirety of your comments are public -- nothing will
be treated as confidential -- and that includes your name. Therefore, any
materials that you consider to be confidential or inappropriate for 
disclosure to the public should not be submitted.

Finally, be advised that in order for your comments to be considered they
must be received by BATFE in Washington, D.C. no later than Friday, June 
13, 2003. If you are submitting your comments via email or facsimile 
transmission they can be "sent" on the date they are due, however, it is 
recommended that you do so at least one day early so as to ensure they
are received. (Please note that BATFE will not be verifying receipt via email
or facsimile transmission, so you will have to check on your side to see 
that indeed the submittal "went through.") If you are submitting your 
comments via the U.S. mail, to ensure their receipt by this date it is 
recommended that you mail your comments no later than Saturday, June 7,

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