NCC Joins Letter Supporting H.R. 3158, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act

2012 Fuels Act

Published: July 25, 2012
Updated: July 27, 2012

The EPA extended the deadline date by which owners or operators of a farm must prepare or amend and implement a SPCC Plan from November 10, 2011 to May 10, 2013. The additional 18 months allows time for farms to come in compliance with this regulation.

Farms in operation on or before Aug. 16, '02, must maintain (have a plan in place now) and amend their existing plan if needed by May 10, '13. Farms in operation after Aug. 16, '02, but before May 10, '13 must prepare and implement a Plan on or before May. 10, '13. Farms that start operations after May 10, '13 will be required to have a plan in place before they begin operations.

The SPCC rule will apply to farmers and ranchers with above-ground oil storage facilities with a capacity of at least 1,320 gallons in containers holding more than 55 gallons and can reasonably be expected to discharge oil into navigable water. The regulation requires farmers to make structural improvements to prevent spills by constructing a containment facility, like a dike or a basin, which must retain 110 percent of the fuel in the container. Such infrastructure improvements would cost farmers tens of thousands of dollars and would cost even more to procure the services of Professional Engineers (PEs). Many producers have reported that they are unable to find PEs willing to work on farms. Some states do not have a single qualified PE registered to provide SPCC consultation.

The FUELS Act is a needed solution to an overbroad regulation that has a disparate impact on small farmers and ranchers. It would modify the rule by raising the exemption levels to be reflective of a producer's spill risk and financial resources. The exemption level for a single container would be adjusted upward to 10,000 gallons while the aggregate level on a production facility would move to 42,000 gallons. The proposal would also place a greater degree of responsibility on farmers or ranchers to self-certify compliance if their oil storage facilities exceed the exemption level.

The FUELS Act will update the SPCC rule to more properly apply fuel containment protections, both helping achieve the purpose of safeguarding the land and waters, and protecting small businessmen from burdensome regulations.

The NCC joined 12 other organizations on a letter to The Honorable John Mica, Chairman, and The Honorable Nick Rahall, Ranking Member, of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, expressing support for this common-sense legislation.

More information about the SPCC Rule/Plan is at