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Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I thank my colleague and friend from Oklahoma. He was doing such a good job of explaining the amendment, I didn't want to interrupt him. But I thank him so much for yielding.
Later this week, all farms in the United States will have to comply with the EPA's spill prevention, control and countermeasures rule known as SPCC. That takes effect on May 10. But farms are not like other regulated entities in the SPCC realm. Farms are unlike other SPCC entities the agency has dealt with since 1973. They do not have, by and large, environmental manager personnel ready to follow through on these regs and to make sure they are in compliance with all the EPA stuff; whereas, other businesses with larger financial resources tend to have more resources and more people devoted to making sure they comply with all the EPA regulations.
Agriculture actually has a very good track record on fuel spills. Row crop farms, ranches, livestock operations, farmer cooperatives and other agribusinesses pose a very low risk for spills when we look at the statistics. Many of these tanks are seasonal, and they stay empty for large parts of the year. But they allow farmers to manage the high fuel costs they have to endure. In my State, it is mostly diesel--and probably mostly diesel in most parts of the country. In fact, when we look at the data, spills on farms are almost nonexistent.
This is a commonsense amendment, and I want to thank Senators INHOFE, FISHER, and LANDRIEU for joining me in this effort and taking this burden off of farmers and ranchers in implementing the SPCC rule.
Let me cite specifically what the amendment will do. It will provide realistic threshold sizes for tank regulation at the farm level and allow more farms to self-certify, thus saving time and money that would otherwise be spent in hiring professional engineers to develop and sign SPCC plans.
EPA's unusual 1,320 gallon regulatory threshold under the SPCC rule is not a normal tank size for agriculture. That may be normal in other contexts but not in agriculture. A 1,000-gallon size is much more common, and raising the threshold to 10,000 gallons in aggregate is a much more reasonable level for farmers and ranchers all over the country. So my amendment would allow most Arkansas farms--most farms in Oklahoma, and, in fact, most farms throughout the country--to use the aggregate storage capacity between 10,000 and 42,000 gallons to self-certify rather than going through the expense and time of hiring a professional engineer.
I look forward to working with the bill managers on this amendment.
I also have another amendment. I know these amendments would be objected to right now if we brought up the amendments--this is amendment No. 801--but at the appropriate time I would like to ask that it be made pending.
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Mr. PRYOR. I thank the Senator from Oklahoma for pointing that out. I think he is exactly right. I am unaware of any real opposition to this amendment. There may be a little bit of opposition, but I am not aware of it. But I know we do have at least one Senator--maybe more--who is, temporarily at least, objecting to all amendments until his or a group of them can be agreed to or made pending.
I don't think any objection right now would be specific to this amendment. I also have another technical amendment that I want to call up at the appropriate time. It is not the right time now, but at the appropriate time I do have another technical amendment.
I thank my colleague from Oklahoma for his leadership and thank him for his effort, along with Senators Fischer and Landrieu. This has been a team effort. It was bipartisan. We want to help American farmers. Again, the risk of spill on farms and ranches is just minuscule, almost nonexistent. If we look at the track record, there is a very good track record.
This is a good amendment, something we have been working on for a long time.
I yield the floor.
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