Agency Amends SPCC Rule

New amendments to the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures rule will clarify regulatory requirements, tailor requirements to particular industry sectors, and streamline certain requirements for facility owners or operators subject to the rule, according to a Nov. 20 press release.

With these changes, EPA expects to encourage greater compliance with the SPCC regulations, thus resulting in increased protection of human health and the environment.

The amendments do not remove any regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before Aug. 16, 2002 to develop, implement, and maintain an SPCC plan in accordance with regulations then in effect. Such facilities continue to be required to maintain their plans during the interim until the applicable date for revising and implementing their plans under the new amendments.

EPA also is announcing a proposed rule to extend compliance dates for all facilities to November 2009 and to establish new compliance dates for farms (November 2009), certain qualified farms (November 2010), and marginal oil production facilities (November 2013) subject to SPCC. These revised compliance dates will provide owners or operators of the various kinds of facilities the opportunity to fully understand the regulatory amendments offered by revisions to the SPCC rule from 2006 and 2008.

Finally, EPA is announcing a final rule that vacates the July 17, 2002 definition of "navigable waters" and restores the definition of "navigable waters" that EPA promulgated in 1973. This is in accordance with an order issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C) in American Petroleum Institute v. Johnson, 571 F. Supp.2d 165 (D.D.C. 2008). This final rule does not amend the definition of "navigable waters" in any other regulation that EPA has promulgated.

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