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USDA helps farmers meet oil spill rules

Created: 10/22/10 (Fri) | Topic: Issues

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture for authorizing up to $3 million to help farmers comply with new regulatory requirements designed to prevent and mitigate on-farm fuel and oil spills.

“I discussed this to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Fargo last month, and he seemed receptive to the idea,” Goehring said. “This funding will help producers design and implement the required secondary oil and fuel containment conservation practices.”

USDA announced Thursday the establishment of an eight-state pilot program to help agricultural producers comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Program (SPCC). Participating states include North Dakota, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and the Caribbean area.

Goehring, who has been concerned with EPA’s handling of the SPCC implementation and outreach,  said Vilsack’s decision is especially welcome in states like North Dakota, where many farms have on-site oil and fuel storage capacity.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will administer the pilot program. NRCS will help producers develop or update existing spill prevention plans. Although most farmers can “self certify” their fuel storage, producers with above-ground storage of 10,000 gallons or more must have a plan certified by a registered professional engineer. The plans must be in effect by Nov.10, 2011. 

NRCS currently has a template to help producers determine if they need an SPCC plan and if they can self-certify their plans. This template is available at:   http://nmpf.org/files/file/SPCC-Plan-Template-Final-Sept-20-2010-FORM.pdf

Goehring said farmers and ranchers who need assistance should contact NRCS at their nearest USDA service center. Online information online is available at  www.nrcs.usda.gov.

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