The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exempted milk and milk product containers from the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, potentially saving the milk and dairy industries more than $140 million per year. Based on input from the milk industry, EPA had previously delayed SPCC compliance requirements for milk and milk product containers until the mandated regulatory process could be completed. In January 2009, EPA proposed the rule to exempt milk containers from the SPCC rule. Milk production is already subject to certain construction and sanitary standards and requirements that help prevent spills.

The final exemption applies to milk, milk product containers, and milk production equipment. In addition, because some of these facilities may still have oil storage subject to the spill prevention regulations, EPA is also amending the rule to exclude milk storage capacity from a facility’s total oil storage capacity calculation. The agency is also removing the compliance date requirements for the exempted containers.

The SPCC regulations require facilities with the capacity to store more than the threshold quantity of oils and fats to create and implement plans to prepare, prevent and respond to spills. The current exemption for milk does not apply to fuel oil and other applicable oils stored on farms; farms that store above the regulatory threshold of fuel oil and other applicable oils are covered under the SPCC.

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