WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, praised the passage of his Amendment 29 to the Senate Continuing Resolution that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing its Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule against farmers. The amendment was adopted Thursday by Unanimous Consent.
“The adoption of this amendment is the first step in my fight to exempt farmers and ranchers from being forced to comply with this onerous regulation that was originally designed for refineries, not farms,” said Inhofe. “The fact that the Senate agreed to my amendment by Unanimous Consent is a referendum on the EPA’s lack of outreach to farmers about this rule. My amendment will protect farmers from EPA enforcement for an additional four months, but ultimately my hope is to see them permanently exempted, which can be made possible with my bill S. 496. I will continue to work with my colleagues for support of this bill and bring it soon to the floor for a vote."
Mike Spradling, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau added, “This is just another example of why we are so proud of Sen. Inhofe for taking a common sense approach to solving a one-size-fits-all bureaucratic, industry related problem. When it comes to agriculture and rural issues, it’s reassuring to have a Senator who understands the consequences of blanket, bureaucratic agency regulations as it relates to our industry. This is why we elected Sen. Inhofe, because he understands and represents the Oklahoma way of life.”
Sen. Inhofe has been working to provide farmers with relief from the SPCC rule for years. In June 2011, he sent a bipartisan letter to EPA with 32 of his colleagues requesting that EPA do more outreach and delay implementation of the rule. EPA agreed to extend the compliance deadline to May 10, 2013, but since then has conducted only one outreach program.
To comply with the rule, farmers must often install new double-walled engine oil and diesel storage containers, build expensive berms around their storage facility locations, and fill out volumes of paperwork that must be certified by professional engineers.
On March 8th, Sen. Inhofe introduced S. 496, the SPCC farm exemption bill with five cosponsors.