Inhofe co-authors bill to ease farmers' EPA regulatory burden
A bill to amend Environmental Protection Agency regulations on above-ground fuel and oil storage tanks was introduced March 8 by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-OK. The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-AR; Sen. Deb Fischer, R-NE; Sen. John Boozman, R-AR; Sen. Thad Cochran, R-MS; and Sen. Mike Johanns, R-NE.
The major focus of the amendment to the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure rule exempts farmers from EPA rules intended for oil and gas refineries. The exemption would apply to farmers who have total fuel storage capacity not exceeding 42,000 gallons with no individual tank to exceed 10,000 gallons.
“As I have been saying for years, the EPA is doing everything it can to regulate Americans out of business, and he (Obama) has his sights on the agriculture industry as well,” said Inhofe. “It is unnecessary to force farmers to comply with oil spill regulations that were designed for refineries. Our common-sense legislation makes an exemption from the SPCC rule to any farmer who has less than 42,000 total gallons of oil storage capacity and no single tank larger than 10,000 gallons. This will exempt the vast majority of farmers from having to fill out volumes of paperwork, spend significant sums to buy new storage equipment, and protect them from the aggressive enforcement actions of the EPA. I am proud to work with Sen. Pryor on this issue.”
Many agricultural producers today use large fuel storage tanks for convenient refilling of their tractors, combines and other farm equipment. Fuel tanks on modern four-wheel drive tractors can hold as much as 200 gallons. The large storage tanks allow farmers to save money by purchasing fuel in bulk quantities.
“The proposed legislation would prevent farmers from being required to hire professional engineers to develop complex spill control plans,” said Jimmy Wayne Kinder, a Walters, Okla., farmer. “Obviously we do not pose the same environmental risk as a large refinery.”
“We applaud Sen. Inhofe and his colleagues for working to ease the regulatory burden on farmers and ranchers,” said Mike Spradling, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. “EPA regulations and the SPCC rule in particular, are something Oklahoma producers have been concerned about for a long time. We believe that the exemption being sought by Sen. Inhofe and his colleagues is exactly what Oklahoma’s farmers need.”
To listen to our audio interview with Sen. Inhofe regarding the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure rule, visit www.okfarmbureau.org.