EPA extends SPCC effective date

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending by 60 days the effective date of the December 5, 2008, Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) final rule, according to EPA information.

The amendments will now become effective April 4, 2009.

EPA said that neither this extension, nor the December 5, 2008, final rule remove any regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before August 16, 2002, to maintain an SPCC plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations.

The December 5 final rule contains 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 is also providing a 30-day public comment period for the December 5 final rule. While the agency will accept public comment on all aspects of this rule, EPA 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 December 5 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.

More information about SPCC regulations can be found online at epa.gov.

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