U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre announced today that the EPA has answered his call for an extension for farmers in developing spill plans.
Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, wrote to Congressman McIntyre to explain that the EPA deadline for compliance has been tentatively extended to May 10, 2013. The EPA was responding to calls from Congressman McIntyre to push back the deadline for the Spill Plan mandate.
"This is good news for North Carolina farmers. Requiring agricultural producers to pay for an engineer certified spill plan is especially demanding given the difficult economic conditions facing many producers today," said McIntyre. "Next month the deadline for farmers to have spill plans in place will pass. This will expose farmers in North Carolina to potential costly fines from failure to comply, and could jeopardize the survival of many farms teetering on the edge. Giving our farmers additional time to plan and prepare is critical, and I am pleased that the EPA has heard our call."
The EPAs Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule would require certain facilities to prepare, amend, and implement SPCC Plans to prevent spills of petroleum or animal fat from storage tanks. The impacts of catastrophic weather in broad areas of farm county and insufficient professional and technical assistance to comply pose significant problems to farmers in meeting the originally proposed deadline.
The EPA mentioned the concerns raised by Congressman McIntyre and other members of the agricultural community, historic flooding in many parts of the country, and the unique limited seasonal period for farmers to plan and implement compliance as reasons for the deadline extension.
Congressman McIntyre is a senior member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.