Statement by Steve Nelson, President Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Congressional Action on Water Resources Act and Oil Spill Control Rule

5/22/2014 2:52:19 PM

May 22, 2014  

Contact: Jordan Dux, director of national affairs 402-450-3555  

Statement by Steve Nelson, President Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Congressional Action on Water Resources Act and Oil Spill Control Rule

LINCOLN, NEB., – “We are very appreciative of the Senate’s action today and the House’s action earlier this week in passing the conference report of H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The passage of WRRDA will keep American agriculture competitive domestically and abroad by providing much needed funding for construction and the dredging and repairs to our ports, locks and dams for the efficient transport of agricultural commodities to meet needs both domestically and abroad.”  

“While addressing the transport of agriculture commodities is critical, the bill also takes significant steps to address a regulation that Nebraska Farm Bureau has battled for years. EPA’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule has been a thorn in the side of agriculture since EPA applied this rule to family farms and ranches in 2009. As people in farm country know, this rule was intended for the regulation of large scale oil storage facilities. While Farm Bureau and others have repeatedly encouraged EPA to revise the rule to be more workable for farmers and ranchers, we are very pleased by Congress’ action to force improvements.”  

“Under the legislation advanced today, farm and ranch families will benefit from changes in the way oil and fuel containers are counted for purposes of determining their obligations under SPCC. Previous to this legislation, containers as small as 50 gallons were required to be counted towards a farmer’s aggregate fuel or oil storage, with a capacity of 1,320 gallons of aggregate storage triggering SPCC requirements. Thanks to this legislation, only containers of more than 1,000 gallons will be counted toward aggregate storage. Furthermore, the legislation raises the threshold triggering SPCC rule compliance to more than 6,000 gallons of aggregate fuel storage on an interim basis, until completion of a USDA and EPA study identifying an appropriate aggregate threshold. The legislation does stipulate the aggregate threshold for triggering SPCC requirements cannot be less than 2,500 gallons or more than 6,000 gallons. The study and recommendation is to be released in the next 18 months.” 

“Due to the change in the size of containers counted toward the SPCC aggregate fuel storage threshold, many farmers and ranchers will no longer be affected by this costly and burdensome regulation. The changes are clearly a step in the right direction to helping bring common sense to SPCC regulation where agriculture has no significant history of oil or fuel spills warranting the excessive regulation sought by EPA.”  

“It is our hope the President will follow suit in approving this measure to provide this important regulatory relief to Nebraska farm and ranch families.”   The

Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 56,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit   ###

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