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SPCC Rule Amendments Finalized

12.01.2009

By Andy Bowman, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

On December 5, 2008, U.S. EPA amended the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule to clarify and streamline requirements and tailor other requirements to specific industry sectors. The Obama administration delayed the effective date of the December 2008 amendments to further review the revisions.

On November 13, 2009, U.S. EPA published a final rule making technical corrections to the December 2008 amendments. 74 Federal Register 58703 (Nov. 13, 2009). Most of the December 2008 amendments were retained. U.S. EPA did remove the following from the December 2008 amendments:

  • Exclusions for oil production facilities and farms from the loading/unloading rack requirements;
  • Alternative criteria for an oil production facility to be eligible to self-certify a SPCC plan; and
  • Exemption for certain produced water containers.

The SPCC rule applies to owners and operators of non-transportation facilities that drill, produce, store, process, refine, transfer, distribute, use or consume oil or oil products that could be reasonably expected to discharge oil to navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. Facilities are required to have a SPCC plan if they have aboveground oil storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons or completely buried oil storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons.

The final rule is effective on January 14, 2010. The November 13, 2009 notice and final rule is available at www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=900006480a56ca3.

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