Posted August 26, 2013

Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) recently sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing concern about the agency’s plan to retroactively enforce the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule on farmers, according to a Farm Futures article, available here. 

The SPCC rule, available here, went into effect on May 10.  According to a press release from Sen. Inhofe’s office, the letter requested clarification on the EPA’s interpretation of its authority with regard to enforcing” the SPCC rule on farmers.  The letter, available here, states, “It has come to our attention that the EPA is informing agriculture producers that it does have the authority to begin enforcing the SPCC rule retroactively beginning September 23.  Congress has repeatedly raised concerns about the implementation of this rule within the agricultural sector, making these reports particularly unsettling.”
The Hill reports that Pryor and Inhofe have “argued that the SPCC regulations – designed to protect the environment – would be too burdensome for farmers.”  To comply with the SPPC, “farmers would be required to install new double-walled engine oil diesel storage containers, build berms around their storage facility locations, and submit paperwork that must be certified by professional engineers proving their farm is in compliance with the rules.”

According to The Hill article, available here, Inhofe and Pryor successfully amended the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to permanently exempt most farmers from the SPCC rule.  The House has not passed the WRDA bill, but added a similar provision to its farm bill.  Under “the 2013 continued spending resolution (CR), Congress prohibited the EPA from using funds to inspect, seek information or investigate SPCC compliance of farmers until after Sept. 22.”  The EPA said that “it is in full compliance with the CR.”