Washington, D.C. (May 7, 2013)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today signaled its support for the inclusion of S. 496, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act, as an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act currently being debated on the Senate floor. The amendment seeks to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency’s pending Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations adequately recognizes the low risk of spills on America’s farms and ranches.
“Inclusion of an amendment identical to S. 496 in WRDA will bring much needed clarity to agriculture on the confusing requirements of the SPCC rules,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “Throughout this long regulatory process, the EPA has failed to provide solid data, or even anecdotal evidence, of on-farm oil spills to justify such as resource-intensive rulemaking for America’s farmers and ranchers.”
The amendment would exempt farmers from SPCC rules for aboveground oil storage tanks that have an aggregate storage capacity of less than 10,000 gallons. In addition to providing this exemption, it will also allow farmers who are regulated and have less than 42,000 gallons of above ground storage capacity to self-certify their own plans.
“By providing realistic threshold sizes for tank regulation at the farm level, this amendment would allow farmers and ranchers to focus on running productive agricultural operations instead of on finding engineers and writing plans that address a problem that simply doesn’t exist,” continued Conner. “I would like to thank Senators Mark Pryor and James Inhofe for their leadership on this issue and hope to work with them as the measure moves through the legislative process.”