Goehring says EPA Should Rethink Fuel Storage Rules

BISMARCK -- Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the new deadline for some farmers and ranchers to meet the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations is welcome, but does not address core problems with the rules.

"I am pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA) has advanced the deadline for compliance deadline to May 10, 2013, for farms and ranches that went into operation after August of 2002," Goehring said. "Unfortunately, that means that many, if not most North Dakota operations were in existence before that."

EPA announced the new deadline Monday, citing the widespread calamities across the U.S. The agency said that it believes that farms were disproportionately affected and needed additional time to prepare and implement their SPCC plans.

SPCC requires operations storing less than 10,000 gallons of fuel and other petroleum productions to have approved plans in place in case of spillage of these fluids. Farms storing more than 10,000 gallons must have an engineer certify the plan and containment structure.

"Given the widespread adversity felt in North Dakota this year – producers were scrambling to plant and manage their operations in short order, leaving little opportunity to deal with another set of rules and regulations to adhere to-- I believe all operations should be afforded the extended deadline," Goehring said.  "I also believe that EPA should immediately take steps to reduce the costs, especially for the required engineering, that SPCC imposes on producers storing larger amounts of fuel."