U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) announced today that she has introduced legislation to change environmental regulations adversely impacting Nebraska farmers. Specifically, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act (FUELS Act) would modify the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule that goes into effect on May 10, 2013. Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined Senator Fischer in introducing the legislation.
"In 2009, the EPA expanded regulation under the SPCC program, applying it to any facility with a fuel storage capacity of more than 1,320 gallons, which includes a majority of Nebraska farms. These misguided rule changes have a direct, adverse impact on producers who must now deal with the compliance costs and paperwork required, or face stiff fines and penalties from EPA. I am pleased to offer a bipartisan legislative solution that raises the exemption levels for fuel storage capacity to better reflect the spill risk and financial resources of farms," Fischer said.
"Nebraskans know that one size does not fit all, particularly when it comes to regulations impacting the agriculture industry. The FUELS Act will go a long way in providing common sense regulatory relief for Nebraska farmers."
This bill will exempt farms from SPCC requirements if their aggregate oil storage capacity is 10,000 gallons or less and the farms have no history of spills. In addition, the bill will increase the oil storage threshold to determine whether a professional engineer must certify a facility's SPCC plan. These reasonable changes are projected to save producers up to $3.4 billion.
The legislation is supported by a broad coalition of agriculture and livestock organizations including:
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Soybean Association
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
National Chicken Council
National Corn Growers Association
National Cotton Council
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Milk Producers Federation
National Turkey Federation
USA Rice Federation