SENATE APPROVES PERMANENT SPCC EXEMPTION FOR FARMERS
Yesterday, the Senate adopted an amendment introduced by Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which would increase threshold sizes for Above Ground Storage Tank (AST) regulation at the farm level, and allow more farms to self-certify spill plans. It provides an exemption from the SPCC rule to any farmer with no single tank larger than 10,000 gallons and will allow farmers to self-certify if they hold less than 42,000 total gallons of oil storage capacity. If the Senate passes the WRDA, the measure would go to the House for consideration. Similar SPCC exemption legislation has been introduced by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) and it is expected to pass when the House takes it up later this year. If the Pryor-Inhofe amendment is ultimately signed into law, then farmers will be granted the tank threshold exemptions and the amendment to delay EPA’s SPCC regulations until September 30, 2013 will be moot.
In the meantime, EPA’s SPCC rule is slated to go into effect TOMORROW for farmers. The rule requires farmers to hire a certified professional engineer to design a SPCC plan and have secondary containment installed. As petroleum marketers well know, the SPCC rule is applicable to any facility, including farms, with an aggregate above-ground oil storage capacity of 1,320 gallons in tanks of 55 gallons or greater. However, whether the rule will be enforced now is unclear. Included in passage of the continuing resolution (CR), which was signed into law in March, is language which delays SPCC compliance deadlines for farmers through September 30, 2013. The amendment prevents funds from being used through Fiscal Year 2013 to implement requirements of EPA’s SPCC rule.
The following article appeared in the August 6, 2012 edition of the IPCA’s Insider Report . John Shimer at IPCA commented that PMAA’s position is that they are against this bill and feel that it is unlikely to pass because it would need 60 votes to pass in the House.
The current SPCC rule are farms over 1,320 gallons up to 10,000 gallons can self-certify and farms greater than 10,000 gallons need a professional engineer.
FARMERS SPCC CLARIFICATION MOVING IN HOUSE
Thursday the House approved H.R. 3158, the “Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act”. The bill, introduced by Rick Crawford (R-AR), would bring clarity to farmers on the requirements of the EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, it would provide threshold sizes for tank regulation at the farm level, and allow more farms to self-certify.
As petroleum marketers well know, the SPCC rule is applicable to any facility, including farms, with an aggregate above-ground oil storage capacity of 1,320 gallons in tanks of 55 gallons or greater. H.R. 3158 would create three classes of farms for SPCC purposes:
1. Farms with individual tanks with storage capacity greater than 10,000 gallons, aggregate storage capacity of at least 42,000 gallons or spill histories would need professional engineers to certify their SPCC plans.
2. Farms with aggregate storage capacity greater than 10,000 gallons but less than 42,000 gallons and no history of spills could be self-certified by the farms’ owners or operators.
3. Farms with aggregate storage capacity less than 10,000 gallons and no history of spills would be exempt from requirements.
The bill would also exclude all containers on separate parcels that have a capacity less than 1,320 gallons from the aggregate storage capacity of a farm.
The measure faces significant opposition in the Senate and is not likely to be adopted without pro-environment changes. Senators Inhofe (R-OK) and Sessions (R-AL) tried to attach an SPCC amendment to the Farm bill, but their amendment was not included in the final Senate agreement.
On October 18, 2011, the U.S. EPA amended the date by which farms must prepare or amend and implement their Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans, to May 10, 2013. If EPA receives no adverse comment by November 2, 2011, then the rule will become effective on November 7, 2011.
An overwhelming segment of the continental United States was affected by flooding during the spring and summer of 2011. Other areas were impacted by devastating fires. Many counties in many states were declared disaster areas by either the federal or state government or both. As a result, EPA believes that because of their unique nature farms were disproportionately affected and need additional time to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan.
The amendment does not remove the regulatory requirement for owners or operators of farms in operation before August 16, 2002, to maintain and continue implementing an SPCC Plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. Such farms continue to be required to maintain plans during the interim until the applicable compliance date for amending and implementing the amended Plans. Finally, the amendment does not relieve farms from the liability of any oil spills that occur.
Follow these links for:
Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) Program:
Information for Farmers
Create your own SPCC Plan (template and example):
Easy Online Templates for SPCC plans
Above Ground Storage Tank Guidance Document
SPCC Service Provider
For more information or further assistance with your SPCC plan, please contact your SynEnergy Partners Representative.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Agricultural producers storing more than 1,320 gallons of fuel or other petroleum products on their farms soon will need a written plan for preventing and handling spills, a Purdue University specialist said.
The plans are covered in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation amendments that take effect Nov. 10, said Fred Whitford, coordinator of Purdue Pesticide Programs.
The federal Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure regulation was adopted in 1974. It has been amended over the years.
“The SPCC’s basic intent is to make sure growers who store large amounts of these products are putting in place measures that will protect the area around their properties, specifically groundwater and surface water,” Whitford said. “With this regulation EPA is saying that we need to be thinking about fuel storage as much as pesticide and fertilizer storage. It doesn’t take much oil or gas to pollute water.”
Under the new amendments, only petroleum products stored in stationary tanks and containers of at least 55 gallons are counted toward the regulated total. Gasoline, diesel fuel and oil in tractors, trucks and other vehicular machinery are exempt.
Farmers would not be required to write a SPCC plan if their more than 1,320 gallons of petroleum products are stored on separate farms, so long as no single farm stores the regulated minimum, Whitford said.
“If you’re between 1,321 gallons and 10,000 gallons, you can self-certify your written plan. If you’re at greater than 10,000 gallons, the plan has to be written by a certified professional engineer. The EPA is looking to divide the smaller everyday users of products from those that store much larger quantities.”
Farmers can expect to spend between $2,000 and $4,000 to hire an engineer to write a SPCC plan, Whitford said.
The plan includes such information as how petroleum products are stored, the location of storage units, the farm’s topography and what steps would be taken in the event of a spill. The document is kept on the farm; EPA does not receive a copy.
“If EPA has to respond to a spill on your farm they will ask for this plan,” Whitford said. “Regulatory enforcement likely would occur only if an EPA representative visited a farm on an unrelated matter.”
Farmers can learn more about the regulation by visiting the EPA’s SPCC website, which also includes links for farmers and a template for writing a SPCC plan.
General information on the SPCC and fuel and oil storage is available in Purdue Extension publication PPP-73, Aboveground Petroleum Tanks: A Pictorial Guide. The publication, written by Whitford and co-authors from Purdue, the EPA, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, LaPorte County Co-op, Penn State University and industry, addresses risks related to fuel storage and ways to reduce those risks.
The 109-page publication is $5 per printed copy or free if downloaded online. It is available through Purdue’s The Education Store by visiting https://mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?itemID=19830 or calling toll-free 1-888-398-4636.
Nathan Berg’s mission at Automated Trucking is twofold – keep the company’s fleet of 40 trucks on the road and look for ways to reduce maintenance costs. Nathan recently found the keys to kingdom with CountryMark Advantage Full Synthetic DEO 5W40. With the switch to CountryMark Advantage Lubricants, Nathan has kept the company’s trucks on the road and has taken maintenance costs from 7.25 cents per mile to 6 cents per mile. “I’ve gone from changing oil three times per year to twice a year,” says Berg. “I’m reducing what I spend on oil and I’m reducing the manpower needed to service these trucks. The quality of this oil is impressive. Here’s an example. We’ve got a Western Star truck with a Mercedes engine. I’ve been watching this truck closely through the CountryMark Total Analysis Lube Scan program. The last time this truck came into the shop, it had 541,000 miles on the engine and 60,000 miles on the oil. I pulled an oil sample, ran it through the Total Analysis Program and was pleased to see the report. The oil was still doing its job. No need to change. Now that’s value.”
- Nathan Berg, Automated Transportation, St. Meinrad, Indiana
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- Greg Young, Young Trucking, Bloomington, Indiana