–Story and photo
By Jack Minor —
The EPA recently finalized a rule that will subject dairy farmers to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure program, which was created to prevent oil spills into the water supply.
In the Federal Register, the EPA listed its reasoning for the new regulation that milk contains “a percentage of animal fat, which is non-petroleum oil.” The regulation would require dairy farms and other locations that make ice cream, butter, yogurt and cheese to have an emergency plan in place to prevent oil spills similar to what is required to prevent spills such as the Exxon Valdez.
The requirements would force farmers to train first responders in cleanup protocol for spilled milk and to build containment facilities such as dams or dikes. In order to help farmers comply with the new requirements which must be in place by November, the US Department of Agriculture has put a $3 million program in place “to help farmers and ranchers comply with on-farm oil spill regulations.”
The requirement covers any farm with a total storage capacity of over 1,320 gallons of oil or oil products such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube or hydraulic oil, crop oil, vegetable oil or animal fat.
Initially the EPA attempted to claim authority over the design specifications of “milk containers and associated piping and appurtenances.” The EPA backed off when the National Milk Producers Federation pointed out that existing milk equipment already meets or exceeds standards due to health regulations ensuring cleanliness.
In a letter to the EPA, the NMPF said, “Other authorities frequently inspect dairy farms and processing operations to ensure that the facilities are being maintained in a safe and suitable manner so as to avoid any potential human health issues.”
Weld County Commissioner Doug Rademacher said the regulation lacks common sense. “This regulation is another example of the lack of common sense exhibited by the EPA with their rule makings in the past two years only to promote their extreme environmental agenda.”