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SPCC compliance date extended for farmers

November 14, 2011

SPCC compliance date extended for farmers
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has amended the date by which farms must prepare and implement their Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans to May 10, 2013, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said.
Strain said agricultural interests across the state have issues with the proposed rules and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry sent an official statement to the EPA.
“The proposed measures will cause severe economic hardships to Louisiana farmers who have already suffered tremendous losses from flooding as well as drought,” Strain said. “The disaster conditions impacted planting schedules and have limited farm budgets.”
Strain said many state farmers are already implementing scientifically based best management practices through the Louisiana Master Farmer Program. The program addresses on-farm fuel storage issues.
“These BMPs are reducing the amount of pollutants released into air and state waters,” Strain said. “The Master Farmer Program is firmly rooted in state law and backed by sound science. It’s a critical component of Louisiana’s overall nonpoint source management plan.”
Strain said the USDA acknowledged that an overwhelming segment of the continental United States was affected by wildland fires and flooding during the spring and summer of 2011. Many counties in a number of states were declared disaster areas by either the federal or state government or both. As a result, the EPA delayed the rule change.
Strain said the amendment, if implemented, 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.