A bill that will ease Environmental Protection Agency regulations on producers storing certain amounts of fuel on the farm is one step closer to being law. The House passed the bill, Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act, H.R. 311, on Tuesday.
It was first introduced in January, 2013, and approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in October, 2013. It will alter the EPA's Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure's exemption level to "to be more reflective of a producer's spill risk and financial resources," supporter Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., said.
The SPCC regulates oil storage for facilities with an aggregate above-ground storage capacity of 1,320 gallons or more or a buried capacity of 42,000 gallons or more, but the new bill would bump up the exemption level for single above-ground storage containers to 10,000 gallons and move the aggregate level on a production facility to 42,000 gallons.
In addition, the bill places a greater degree of responsibility on the farmer or rancher to self-certify compliance, instead of requiring the services of a certified professional engineer.
If storage containers have a history that includes a spill, however, SPCC compliance would still be required.
"The EPA continues to overstep its boundaries when it comes to farmer and ranchers in America," Huelskamp commented. "The latest Washington regulatory scheme to regulate fuel storage tanks on small farms is not only impractical but also unnecessary. What's worse, many states do not even have a single inspector who can certify that farmers are meeting the new requirements – making it nearly impossible to comply."
Congressman Ted Yoho, R-Fla., co-sponsor of the bill, said the regulation was unnecessary and is "choking our economy."
"I have said that some regulations are necessary, but rules that stand in the way of farmers and all hard working Americans – trying to make a living – are wrong and should be deleted from the registry," he said.