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Minnesota Senator Pushes for EPA Exemption for Dairies

18:22PM Sep 08, 2010

Source: California Dairy Review/CDFA Dairy Marketing Branch – September 2010

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota recently co-sponsored legislation to expedite a decision from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exempt dairy farmers from regulations that would require them to develop and implement prevention plans for milk spills.
The legislation that Senator Klobuchar is co-sponsoring was introduced by Senators Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
As part of the Clean Water Act, the EPA has the authority over the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) program. The SPCC program contains regulations to ensure that facilities that store or use significant quantities of oil or toxic substances develop a prevention plan in case of spills.
The EPA’s definition of oil within the SPCC regulation includes milk because of its animal fat content, and due to this classification, dairy producers would be required to develop the same type of storage/spill plan as for oil and toxic substances.
Milk storage is already regulated under a Food and Drug Administration rule called the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. The proposed EPA regulation would mean that dairy farms with 1,320 gallons of milk stored would have to develop a spill response plan which, in some cases, could cost thousands of dollars.The compliance date for these rules is Nov. 10, 2010.
"Subjecting our dairy farmers to rules that were designed for massive oils spills and toxic substances not only is unnecessary but also creates a financial burden," said Senator Klobuchar. "This bill acts quickly to exempt dairy farmers from these excessive regulations and to remove an extra obstacle that our dairy producers would face."
In January 2009, EPA suggested potentially exempting milk storage from SPCC regulations, but has not yet reached a decision. The goal is that the proposed legislation will expedite the EPA's rule exempting milk storage containers from SPCC regulations in advance of the November 2010 SPCC compliance deadline.
Read more about the SPCC Rule compliance dates.