In news from “the Hill;” National Milk expressed concern this week that dairy farmers will need to file a plan to avoid oil spills from their bulk tanks if changes in pending Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations aren’t changed. The way they are written now, the butterfat in milk would be considered an oil and thus the law of unintended consequences is about to kick in this fall.
NMPF’s Jamie Jonker reported in Thursday’s DairyLine that the regulations referred to as the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Rule (SPCC) looks to insure that oils are not spilled from containers and if it does happen, there’s a way to quickly clean up those spills. Animal fats would fall under this definition he said, and that would include milk.
The regulations have nothing to do with the oil gushing out of the ocean floor in the Gulf as they were written long before that occurred but revisions
NMPF worked with the EPA and other interested groups to obtain an exemption for bulk storage of milk products and the EPA was very ameanable to that in January of 2009, he said, but has not finalized that exemption yet.
It’s important for the dairy industry because of the approaching November compliance deadlines so, without that exemption, there’s significant uncertainty how dairy farmers would be affected.
The International Dairy Foods Association last week issued a press release saying that it had learned that the EPA had agreed to the exemption and Jonker said they have heard the same rumors and hopes they are true but there has not yet been an official statement from EPA to that effect.