U.S. Senator Herb Kohl today praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its decision to protect dairy farmers, processers and distributors from unnecessary and burdensome spill regulation. This final rule is in line with what Senator Kohl and a bipartisan group of Senators sought in a bill (S. 104) requiring the EPA to finish the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure program (SPCC) rule and give dairy businesses the certainty that they will not be regulated. Senator Kohl, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, heard concerns about this regulation from constituents and groups from across the state, including the Farm Bureau, Farmers Union and the Dairy Business Association. The EPA estimates the exemption will save the dairy industry over $140 million per year.
"I am pleased that the EPA listened to the concerns of the dairy industry and approved this commonsense exemption," said Kohl. "Dairy farmers are already required to meet strict standards for safety and quality, and adding another regulation didn't make sense. I hope this will serve as a model for the future -- achieving a balance between reasonable regulation and environmental protection."
The SPCC program requires that businesses create plans for managing oil spills, with the goal of preventing spills and minimizing the damage should a spill occur. Under the Clean Water Act, the definition of oil includes animal fats and since milk contains animal fat it was subject to the SPCC program requirements. EPA's final rule makes it clear that all milk and milk products are formally exempt from the SPCC program requirements.