Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Compliance Date for Farms Extended to May 10, 2013

The United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced a proposed rule amendment to 40 CFR Part 112’s SPCC compliance deadline for farmers.  A Federal Register posting summarized the proposed rule as follows, “EPA is taking direct final action to amend the date by which farms must prepare or amend, and implement their Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plans to May 10, 2013.  This rule is effective on November 7, 2011 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comment by November 2, 2011.”

According to the Proposed Amendment, farming operations that commenced on or before August 16, 2002 now have until May 10, 2013 to amend and implement their SPCC Plan.  The EPA website explains the rationale for this rule change, stating, “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.”

The extension of the SPCC plan compliance deadline for farmers has received support from both individual farm operators as well as the National Farmers Union as it will provide the agriculture community more time to recover from the devastating impacts of this year’s unprecedented drought, floods and fires.  Yet more importantly, it provides an extended timeframe for farmers to properly research all relevant aspects of the SPCC regulation and to create or update their oil spill mitigation planning as defined in the regulation.  An overview of resources for farmers and other agricultural operations that are subject to the new SPCC Plan deadline, including advice, technical support and oil spill prevention and clean up products are available at Interstate Products’ SPCC Farmers website at: http://interstateproducts.com/spcc_farmers.html

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