Ohio Farm Bureau was among groups that asked to exempt milk from oil spill rules.

Milk exempted from oil spill rules

Buckeye Farm News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has exempted milk and milk product containers from the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule. The regulation has been in place since the 1970s, and with this action, EPA for the first time will ensure that all milk and milk products will be formally exempted.

In response to feedback from the agriculture community, including Ohio Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau, EPA determined that this unintended result of the current regulations – which were designed to prevent oil spill damage to inland waters and shorelines – placed unjustifiable burdens on dairy farmers.

EPA had delayed SPCC compliance requirements for milk and milk product containers several times since the SPCC rule went into effect.

“After working closely with dairy farmers and other members of the agricultural community, we’re taking common sense steps to exempt them from a provision in this rule that simply shouldn’t apply to them. Despite the myths that have arisen about EPA’s intentions, our efforts have been solely focused on exempting milk and milk products from this regulation – and that exemption is now permanent,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The final exemption applies to milk, milk product containers and milk production equipment. In addition, because some of these facilities may still have oil storage subject to the spill prevention regulations, EPA is also amending the rule to exclude milk storage capacity from a facility’s total oil storage capacity calculation. The agency is also removing the compliance date requirements for the exempted containers.

The SPCC regulations require facilities storing more than 1,320 gallons of oil to create and implement plans to prepare, prevent and respond to oil spills. The exemption does not apply to fuel oil and other applicable oils stored on farms; farms that store the regulatory threshold of fuel oil and other applicable oils are covered under the SPCC.

Photo by Erin Davis

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