Agency never intended the rules to apply to milk fat, director says

By CAROL RYAN DUMAS

Capital Press

The Environmental Protection Agency on April 12 issued a final exemption for milk storage under the Spill, Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure regulation clarifying that milk would not be regulated the same as petroleum products.

Under the Clean Water Act, SPCC regulations are intended to prevent oil spills into waters of the U.S. and adjoining shorelines and requires farms and other facilities with aggregate storage of oil products to have a spill-prevention plan.

That potentially included bulk milk tanks and associated piping and equipment, as butterfat is considered a form of oil under the law.

National Milk Producers Federation has been working with Congress and the EPA for the exemption for two years.

"There was some confusion between milk storage equipment and oil storage," said Chris Galen, National Milk's senior vice president of communications. "But as we said ... 'Got Milk?' and 'Got Oil?' aren't the same question, and they shouldn't need the same answer."

EPA Director Lisa Jackson has told Congress EPA never intended to regulate dairy farms under SPCC on milk storage, he said.

"EPA clarified it never intended the regulatory burden apply to milk fat," he said.

Milk storage is already regulated as part of the current Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, he added.

The spill-prevention regulation does, however, apply to farms with a total aggregate storage of 1,320 gallons or more of diesel, gasoline and grease. Those farms still need a spill-prevention plan.

But a farm with less than 10,000 gallons of total oil-storage capacity with no single storage greater than 5,000 gallons can self certify their spill-prevention plan. Farms that exceed those storages must have a plan certified by a professional engineer.

National Milk's tool to assist dairy producers in developing their SPCC plans for fuel and oil storage is at www.nmpf.org .

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