Sen. Deb Fischer announced Wednesday that the U.S. Senate has unanimously voted to adopt an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act.
According to Fischer's office, the amendment raises the exemption levels for fuel storage capacities. The amendment impacts the Environmental Protection Agency's Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure rule that was scheduled to go into effect on May 10 and be enforced beginning at the end of September.
The EPA regulation would have affected any facility with a fuel storage capacity of more than 1,320 gallons, which includes a majority of Nebraska farms. The amendment provides for an immediate 6,000-gallon exemption, with a study to review and determine the most appropriate level of exemption for those tanks with storage capacities between 2,500 and 6,000 gallons.
In addition, the amendment increases the oil storage threshold to determine whether a professional engineer must certify a facility's SPCC plan from 10,000 gallons to 20,000 gallons.
Fischer released a statement following the amendment's approval saying, "The Senate's unanimous approval of this amendment is a huge victory for farmers throughout Nebraska and across America, who are dealing with onerous new regulations for their on-farm fuel tanks.
These misguided EPA rules have a direct impact on producers, who faced incredible compliance costs and paperwork requirements; inability to meet these new standards would result in the risk of stiff fines and penalties from EPA. This bipartisan amendment raises the exemption levels for fuel storage capacity to better reflect the spill risk and financial resources of farms."
She said that the passage of the amendment goes a long way in providing common sense regulatory relief for Nebraska farmers, many of whom called her office to express concerns over the EPA regulation.
Fischer introduced amendment along with Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okl.).