Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | December 1, 2008

Environmental lawyer Sanders says U.S. EPA announces amendments to Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Rule for public viewing.

Newly announced amendments to the Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Rule will clarify regulatory requirements, tailor requirements to particular industry sectors, and streamline certain requirements for facility owners or operators subject to the rule. With these changes, U.S. 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 August 16, 2002 to develop, implement and maintain an 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 revising and implementing their plans under the new amendments.

EPA also is announcing a proposed rule to extend the 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 United States 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. 

 

An unofficial copy of the new rule is at: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/docs/oil/spcc/SPCC_Final%20Rule_signed.pdf.  The link is to an unofficial pre-publication copy of the Federal Register Notice (signed November 20, 2008) for public reference. This document has not yet been published in the Federal Register and is not an official version of the final rule.  The official final rule is effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.   Clear enough?

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