EPA Seeks More Review, Extends Effective Date of SPCC

Consistent with the Office of Management and Budget's Jan. 21, 2009 memorandum regarding regulatory review, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is extending by 60 days the effective date of the Dec. 5, 2008 Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) final rule.

The amendments will now become effective on April 4, 2009.

On Dec. 5, 2008, EPA published in the Federal Register a rule to amend the SPCC regulations. The regulations contain requirements for oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response to prevent oil discharges to navigable waters and adjoining shorelines. Through the December regulation, EPA sought to encourage greater compliance with the SPCC regulations by clarifying regulatory requirements, tailoring requirements to particular industry sectors, and streamlining certain requirements for facility owners or operators subject to the rule.

In addition to extending the effective date, EPA also is providing a 30-day public comment period for the Dec. 5, 2008 SPCC final rule. While the agency will accept public comment on all aspects of this rule, it is particularly interested in comment on the requirements for produced water containers at oil production facilities and the criteria for identification of qualified oil production facilities eligible to self-certify their SPCC plans. In addition, EPA is requesting public comment on the 60-day extension of the effective date of the Dec. 5, 2008 final rule. Comments are due 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

The agency also is reviewing the dates by which owners or operators of facilities must prepare or amend their SPCC plans and implement the plans. EPA intends to address these compliance dates in a separate notice.

Neither this extension, nor the Dec. 5, 2008 final rule remove any regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before Aug. 16, 2002 to maintain an SPCC plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations.

For more information about SPCC regulations, visit http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/spcc.

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