Senate approves measure to protect farmers from oil spill regulations

Under the amendment, the threshold to trigger inclusion in the new regulations would immediately be raised to 6,000 gallons while a study is conducted to determine the ideal cutoff. Also, the measure approved Thursday would increase from 10,000 gallons to 20,000 gallons the threshold at which facilities would need certification from a professional engineer.

The amendment was unanimously adopted as part of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), and offered by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and James Inhofe (R-Okla.).

“These misguided EPA rules have a direct impact on producers, who faced incredible compliance costs and paperwork requirements,” Fischer said in a written statement. “Inability to meet these new standards would result in the risk of stiff fines and penalties from EPA.”

Thursday’s action was not the first time the SPCC was highlighted as unnecessarily burdensome. President Obama singled the rule out in his 2012 State of the Union address, during which he vowed to trim away federal regulations that were useless or overly costly.

He noted that the SPCC rule had originally included all oils including animal fats, vegetable oils and even milk. The regulations were later amended to exempt dairy products.

“With a rule like that,” the president quipped, “I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.”