The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has exempted milk and milk product containers from the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure rule, possibly saving the milk and dairy industries more than $140 million per year. EPA had delayed SPCC compliance requirements for milk and milk product containers several times since the rule went into effect. According to EPA, Tuesday's formal rule change reflects EPA's commitment to common-sense, responsive, and transparent rulemaking. It's also consistent with the president's executive order on improving regulations.
Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was a cosponsor of legislation to expedite a decision by EPA on the rule. Now that it has happened, Grassley says dairy producers across the country are breathing a sigh of relief.
"To think that milk would be treated the same as oil defies common sense," Grassley said. "I appreciate EPA finally getting the job done and doing the right thing in this instance."
According to the Senator in an already difficult economic environment, this attempt by the EPA to apply burdensome and unnecessary regulations would have put many of these hard working dairy farmers in an extremely precarious position, and could easily have increased prices for consumers at the grocery store.
The National Milk Producers Federation is also pleased by the action taken by EPA.
"We appreciate that the EPA is taking a common-sense approach with this decision, recognizing that arbitrarily lumping milk and oil together isn't the appropriate thing to do," said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. "'Got Milk?' and 'Got Oil?' aren't the same question, and they shouldn't need the same answer."
Even with the exemption of milk handling equipment, many farmers still need to have an SPCC plan. Such plans are required for farms which have an aggregate storage capacity of oil products of 1320 gallons, or more, for every storage container larger than 55 gallons. NMPF has completed the development of a self-certification template tool to assist dairy producers in developing their SPCC plans that covers all fuel and oil storage on the farm. The template, developed with assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, is available on the NMPF Web site.