WASHINGTON – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) appreciates the action taken this afternoon by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in passage of the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act (H.R. 311). This bi-partisan legislation, sponsored in the House by Rep. Eric Crawford (R-Akr.), was passed out of committee today by unanimous consent and is now ready to head to the House floor for full consideration.
“The FUELS Act would ease the burden placed on farmers and ranchers by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program,” said NCBA president and Cody, Wyo. cattlemen Scott George. “Under the FUELS Act, the burdens of the SPCC regulations would be greatly reduced and family farmers and ranchers would be exempted from having to develop and implement costly spill containment plans.”
SPCC regulations call for agricultural operations to develop an SPCC plan if the farm has an above ground oil storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons or a buried oil storage capacity of 42,000 gallons or more. Under the FUELS Act, the burden of the SPCC regulation is eased by raising exemption and self-certified levels for on-farm fuel storage. The legislation exempts farms with a storage capacity of 10,000 gallons or fewer from having to develop an SPCC plan. The legislation also allows more operations to self-certify by raising the self-certification level to up to 20,000 gallons of fuels storage. Operations with greater than 20,000 gallons will still be required to have a Professional Engineer (P.E.) certified spill plan.
“NCBA is pleased to see the exemption level of 10,000 gallons,” said George. “The language in this bill will keep many of our producers from having to undertake excess costs as a result of the EPA’s overregulation.”
Similar language is also contained in the House Farm Bill and as an amendment to the Senate’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). NCBA will work to ensure these important provisions are passed into law.