Thursday, December 14, 2006

EPA Announces Final & Proposed Oil SPCC Regulations

Dec 14: U.S. EPA announced that it is amending certain requirements for facilities subject to EPA's Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations. Originally proposed in December 2005, the final rule amendments streamline the requirements for the owners/operators of qualified facilities with aboveground oil storage capacities of 10,000 gallons or less and certain containers and equipment regulated under the rule. The SPCC regulations require covered facilities to prevent, prepare for and respond to oil discharges. The final rule will provide alternative compliance options for certain regulated facilities. The final rule provides streamlined options for specifically qualified facilities and exemptions from the SPCC regulations for certain vehicle fuel tanks and other on-board bulk oil storage containers.

EPA is also exempting mobile refuelers from the sized secondary containment requirements for bulk storage containers, and removing requirements for animal fats and vegetable oils that pertain to onshore and offshore oil production facilities, oil drilling and workover facilities. In the final rule, EPA is also extending the compliance date for farms to either prepare and implement new SPCC plans or amend existing (maintained) SPCC plans and implement the amended plans until EPA publishes a future rule specifically addressing how farms should be regulated under the SPCC rule.

To provide the regulated community time to implement these modifications, as well as anticipated additional modifications, EPA is also issuing a proposed rule to extend the compliance dates to July 1, 2009 for owners and operators of facilities (with the exception of farms) to amend and implement an existing SPCC plan or in the case of new facilities, time to prepare and implement a new SPCC plan.

Nothing in the final rule and the proposed rule removes any regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before August 16, 2002 to have developed, implemented and maintained a SPCC plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. Such facilities continue to be required to maintain their plans during the interim until the applicable date for amending their existing plans and implementing their amended plans. EPA also indicated that it will be revising the 2005 SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors, as appropriate, to reflect the 2006 amendments to the rule and will post any changes on the website.

Access an EPA release (click here). Access a prepublication copy of the 97-page final rule (click here). Access extensive summary information on the final rule (click here). Access the prepublication copy of the 14-page proposed rule to extend compliance dates (click here). Access the Inspectors Guidance website (click here). Access EPA's Oil Program website for additional information (click here). [*Haz, *Water]