The worst part is that the explosion didn't need to happen, Tim Murphy writes for Mother Jones. "The U.S. Department of Defense has pressured manufacturers overseas to neutralize their own products, warning that anything less constitutes a threat to American personnel," Murphy writes. "But in the United States, with the backing of the chemical industry, explosive ammonium nitrate has held onto a small but powerful share of the market as the fertilizer of choice for citrus growers."
Lawmakers have had plenty of chances to ban the substance, most notably after Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh used it, and after 9/11, when "the Department of Homeland Security began offering incentives to companies that sought to neutralize the explosive properties of fertilizer," Murphy writes.
The Fertilizer Institute, "the nation's leading lobbying organization of the chemical and agricultural industries, successfully squashed all regulatory efforts," after Oklahoma City, Murphy writes. Some companies have started to come around since 9/11, but the progress has been slow. (Read more)