from Rocketry Planet

APCP not an explosive, rules Judge Reggie B. Walton

Industry News by Planet News
MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2009

ImageWASHINGTON, District of Columbia USA — District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton for the District of Columbia today issued an order finding in favor of the Tripoli Rocketry Association and National Association of Rocketry vs. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The decision followed a status hearing this past Friday in Washington.

Walton’s order granted a summary judgment motion in favor of the plaintiffs TRA and NAR, denied the summary judgment motion of BATFE, and vacated the classification of Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant (APCP) as an explosive.


The plaintiffs filed this action nine years ago challenging the defendant’s regulation as an explosive under 18 U.S.C. § 841(d) (2006) a chemical compound known as ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (“APCP”), which is commonly used in the motors of hobby rockets. After the Court ruled on the parties’ initial cross-motions for summary judgment in this case, the plaintiffs appealed and the District of Columbia Circuit, reviewing the matter de novo, held that the defendant’s classification of APCP as an explosive based on its determination that the substance functions by deflagration violated the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A) (2000), because the decision was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law, Tripoli Rocketry Ass’n, Inc. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 437 F.3d 75 (D.C. Cir. 2006).

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