Agriculture Coalition Comments on SPCC Rule

Farm Bureau and a number of other agricultural organizations filed comments on Friday, May 1 in response to a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for comments on extending the effective date of the December 5 rule implementing changes to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) regulation.  A great deal of confusion has arisen in the agriculture community over applicability of the SPCC provisions to farms.  Over the last three years, EPA has considered substantive changes to the rule, as well as proposals and modifications of effective dates related to any substantive changes.  While it is impossible to provide exact, detailed explanations of EPA’s current posture on this matter, all producer members with on-site oil storage capacity of greater than 1320 gallons should educate themselves about the rule and any obligations they may have that arise under the regulation.  The previous (i.e., December 5) regulation would have implemented a tiered structure under which certain farms (as defined by the rule) might have availed themselves of more flexible requirements from the agency (i.e., either by using a designated EPA template or other means) rather than requiring certification by a professional engineer.   It appears that the agency is now reviewing all of these proposals.  Therefore, while it is impossible to state exactly what requirements apply to farms, it seems clear that farmers and ranchers with on-site oil storage capacity may be subject to provisions of the SPCC rule.  All producers are urged to educate themselves about the rule, their potential obligations and to act in good faith to meet those obligations.