Ask Your Senators to Vote for Reasonable Fuel Storage Rules for Farmers

first_imgWhen the Senate takes up consideration of the Water Resources Development Act next week, Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) plan to offer an amendment that would alleviate the costly regulatory burden on farmers resulting from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule. Their amendment would raise the on-farm fuel storage threshold requiring spill containment facilities to a more realistic and practical level. Their amendment also would allow more farms to self-certify rather than being forced to hire independent engineers.ASA strongly supports their amendment and urges ASA members to contact their senators to urge them to vote in favor of the amendment when it is offered.The EPA’s current rule requires farmers that have fuel/oil storage facilities with a capacity of over 1,320 gallons to construct a containment facility, like a dike or a basin, which must retain 110 percent of the fuel in the container. These mandated infrastructure improvements, along with the necessary inspection and certification by a specially licensed Professional Engineer, will cost many farmers tens of thousands of dollars.The amendment, also known as the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act, or FUELS Act, would modify the EPA’s SPCC rule to raise the exemption levels for fuel storage capacity to better reflect the spill risk and financial resources of farms. The amendment would raise the threshold requiring special containment facilities from 1,320 gallons of fuel/oil storage 10,000 gallons. The proposal would also place a greater degree of responsibility on farmers and ranchers to self-certify compliance if their oil storage facilities exceed the exemption level. If the amount exceeds 42,000 gallons, a professional engineer still would certify the SPCC plans for a farm. The amendment provides another layer of protection by requiring the producer to be able to demonstrate that he or she has no history of oil spills, or to fully comply with the SPCC regulations.Currently, farmers are expected to have SPCC plans in place by May 10 for fuel/oil storage totaling more than 1,320 gallons; however, EPA is prevented from taking any enforcement measures until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.ASA urges all members to call their Senators and ask them to support the FUELS Act. Please visit the Soy Action Center by clicking here for talking points on the issue and contact information for your Senators.last_img read more