Federal Officials Invite AGC to Debate Controversial Oil Spill Rule
AGC was the sole construction industry representative and one of only three groups invited to make a presentation to federal environmental officials at a recent meeting arranged by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
AGC used this unique face-to-face opportunity to openly discuss with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the Association's main concerns with the federal oil spill program. AGC also offered detailed recommendations on how to reform the existing rules.
The principle issues raised by AGC concerning the so-called Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rules include:
- The excessive requirement to provide secondary containment around asphalt cement storage tanks,
- The inappropriate regulation of construction equipment fuel/fluid tanks as oil storage, and
- The burdensome and overlapping requirements to address oil spills in both storm water pollution prevention plans and SPCC plans.
AGC explained to federal officials that these SPCC requirements are unwarranted and often difficult to comply with on construction jobsites.
Recognizing that EPA has yet to make any final decisions, the agency has indicated it intends to address the most controversial SPCC provisions through a combination of further rulemaking, guidance, and enforcement discretion. (Many of the changes specific to construction, however, can be resolved only by promulgating a new regulation.) In the meantime, EPA is talking about proposing a "reasonably-long, overall extension" of its 2002 SPCC rule amendments. The extension would delay the looming deadline for complying with the 2002 revisions that impose new and more stringent obligations than did the original 1974 SPCC rule (e.g., integrity and leak testing requirements, security requirements, and PE-certification requirements).
To learn more about EPA's anticipated course of action, see the "SPCC: What to Expect" article featured in this issue.
Since 1974, construction sites have been subject to the full breadth and depth of the SPCC requirements if they have an above-ground oil storage capacity of 1,320 gallons or more and there is a possibility of a discharge to a water of the United States. Currently, EPA treats asphalt cement as "oil" for purposes of the SPCC rule even though asphalt does not flow or seep like oil. Moreover, the oil containing capacity of most fuel/fluid tanks on construction equipment must be included in calculating the oil storage capacity of a construction site.
In furtherance of AGCís partnership in the EPA Sector Strategies Program, the two groups have agreed to work together to improve the SPCC programís effectiveness. See related article in this issue "AGC/EPA Interface."
For more information, contact AGCís Leah Wood at (703) 837-5332 or via e-mail at email@example.com
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