LINCOLN, Neb. (Apr. 29, 2016) – Nebraska Cattlemen applauds Senator Deb Fischer on her “no vote” of the 2016 Water Resources and Development Act. Senator Fischer was the sole opponent to the bill, which passed out of the Environment and Public Works Committee yesterday. Senator Fischer cited longstanding concerns the EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule would force farms and livestock operations to comply with the same exhaustive regulatory process as major oil refineries. Under the rule, producers with above ground oil and gas tanks must hire a professional engineer to design and certify a plan for spills, despite the extreme unlikelihood such an event would occur on a farm or ranch.
During the hearing Senator Fischer stated that “While this bill contains many great provisions I am concerned it does not address much needed regulatory relief for on-farm fuel storage.”
On June 30, 2015 the EPA released its study recommending the rule apply to facilities with a minimum total above ground storage capacity of 2,500 gallons. This threshold is significantly lower than the prior exemption of 6,000 gallons, and would force Nebraska’s agricultural producers to deal with high costs, mountains of paperwork, and steep EPA penalties for noncompliance.
Senator Fischer said the EPA study lacked scientific evidence and made several erroneous assumptions, including an example of jet fuel spilled.
“I would guess from my own production agriculture experience it would be hard to find many farms with storage tanks filled with jet fuel,” said Senator Fischer.
“Nebraska Cattlemen appreciates Senator Fischer for challenging the EPA to stop issuing one-sized-fits-all regulations that would threaten our agricultural producers, the lifeblood of our state.” says NC President, Barb Cooksley. “NC is very thankful that we have a champion to stand up for burdensome federal regulations such as the SPCC rule which would apply to a majority of farms and livestock operations in Nebraska.”
Senator Fischer plans to continue working with the Chairman, the Ranking Member and all colleagues to prioritize regulatory relief when the 2016 Water Resources and Development Act reaches the Senate floor.