NCFC expresses concerns over EPA compliance extension of spill rules for farms

By Melissa Coon

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, July 30 – National Council of Farmers Corporation (NCFC) President Chuck Conner today expressed concerns over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent proposal to extend the compliance date for certain facilities subject to recent amendments to the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule. The EPA proposed to extend the date by one year, but NCFC worries that will not be long enough.

NCFC has been supportive of the compliance extension and special rules recognizing the unique situation with on-farm storage, and we commend EPA for finally acting on these requests,” he said. “At the same time, we remain concerned that even the extended compliance deadline will be difficult for many agricultural producers to meet. EPA cannot expect that the agency can simply set a compliance deadline and have producers, who are busy running businesses and providing for their families, understand and implement these changes.”

Last year, EPA amended the SPCC rule to strengthen certain provisions. Regulated facilities are required to amend and implement these changes as part of their overall SPCC plans. The purpose of the SPCC rule, which was finalized in 1973, is to establish requirements for facilities to prevent a discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.

The proposed rule would:

  • Extend the date by which the owners or operators of certain facilities must prepare or amend and implement an SPCC plan by one year to November 10, 2011.

  • Delay the compliance date for facilities with milk containers that are constructed according to the current applicable 3-A sanitary standards, and subject to the current applicable grade “A” pasteurized milk ordinance (PMO) or a state dairy regulatory requirement equivalent to the current applicable PMO until one year after EPA finalizes a rule for these facilities.

  • Maintain the current November 10, 2010 compliance date for drilling, production and workover facilities that are offshore or that have an offshore component, and for onshore facilities required to have and submit FRPs.

  • Reconcile the proposed compliance dates for new production facilities

Despite their concerns, NCFC applauded EPA for their interest in the agriculture community and plan to continue working with them.

It is NCFC’s hope that we can continue to work with EPA to ensure that farming operations are able to meet new SPCC requirements in a timely and cost effective manner,” said Conner.

For more information on EPA’s proposal: click here.

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