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U.S. EPA Grants Fifth Extension of Deadline to Update Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans

06.01.2007

By Andy Bowman, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

On May 16, 2007, the U.S. EPA published notice of a final rule which further extends the October 31, 2007 deadline for amending Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans to comply with new requirements which became effective on August 16, 2002. This marks the fifth extension of the deadline. Existing facilities subject to the SPCC rules must continue to maintain their existing plans and now must amend and implement their plans to comply with the 2002 rules by no later than July 1, 2009. U.S. EPA stated that the extension was provided to enable facilities to incorporate new revisions to the 2002 SPCC rule which were finalized on December 26, 2006 as well as to meet additional requirements that U.S. EPA plans to propose in 2007. Notice of the final rule appeared in 72 Fed. Reg. 27443 (May 16, 2007).

The 2002 SPCC rule requires facilities which involve drilling, producing, gathering, storing, processing, refining, transferring, distributing, using or consuming oil and oil products where due to location may reasonably be expected to discharge to waters of the United States, including wetlands, with an aggregate aboveground oil storage capacity of more than 1,320 gallons or underground oil storage capacity of more than 42,000 gallons, to develop a SPCC plan certified by a professional engineer. Oil includes petroleum, sludge, fuel oil, vegetable oils and oils, fats and greases from animal or fish origin. Containers of 55 gallons or more must be counted toward the aboveground capacity threshold of 1,320 gallons. The December 26, 2006 amendments to the SPCC rule allow certain facilities with 10,000 gallons or less in aggregate aboveground oil storage capacity meeting the rule’s historical oil discharge criteria to prepare a self-certified SPCC plan rather than one reviewed and certified by a professional engineer. The 2006 amendments provide other regulatory relief for such facilities and exempt motive power containers (e.g., fuel tanks on trucks, locomotive, cranes, automobiles, aircraft, bulldozers and other self-propelled heavy equipment).

Additional information is available here.

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