Nebraska Cattlemen applaud Sen. Fischer for addressing SPCC rule
September 14, 2016
LINCOLN, Neb. (Sept 14, 2016) – Today, Senator Deb Fischer successfully brokered an amendment to the 2016 Water Resources and Development Act to address longstanding concerns with EPA's Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program. Nebraska Cattlemen applauds Senator Fischer for helping alleviate Nebraskans from costly EPA regulations that are best suited for major oil refineries, not farms and ranches.
Under the proposed rule, producers with a minimum total above ground storage capacity of 2,500 gallons would be required to hire a professional engineer to design and certify a plan to deal with the unlikely event of an oil spill on a farm or ranch. This threshold was significantly lower than the prior exemption of 6,000 gallons, and would force Nebraska's agricultural producers to deal with high costs, mountains of paperwork, and steep EPA penalties for noncompliance. The agency based its recommendations on a 2015 study that lacked scientific evidence and made several erroneous assumptions, including an example of spilled jet fuel.
"I would guess from my own production agriculture experience it would be hard to find many farms with storage tanks filled with jet fuel," said Senator Fischer.
The amendment, which was also supported by Senator Ben Sasse, exempts up to 2,000 gallons of storage capacity on remote parcels. As a result, producers may keep 2,500 gallons stored at a facility's main base, and an unlimited number of 1,000 gallon tanks at other locations, so long as no more than two tanks are on the same parcel. Animal feed product containers are completely exempted from SPCC requirements.
"The amendment will provide much needed flexibility and regulatory relief for Nebraska's agricultural producers. Nebraska Cattlemen greatly appreciates the hard work of Senators Fischer and Sasse for helping get the amendment in the final Senate version of WRDA." said NC President Barb Cooksley.
The U.S. House of Representatives must still pass its version of WRDA, and the two chambers will need to conference the final bill before the end of 2016.
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For more information on how this new exemption will work, contact Jessie Herrmann at Nebraska Cattlemen by email or at 402-475-2333.