- Waterways legislation passes House, Senate by overwhelming majority.
- Awaiting President Obama's signature.
- Provides $8.2 billion for infrastructure improvements.
- Applauded by broad coalition of agriculture, business groups.
Also included in the WRRDA are provisions that would affect the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule that addresses on-farm fuel storage. Agriculture groups “have been urging Congress for several years to address this regulatory issue,” said the Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association in a statement. “The language in Section 1049 will raise the threshold level for triggering the SPCC rule from 1,320 gallons to 6,000 gallons. This amount is temporary pending a study, after which the level may remain at 6,000 gallons or be reduced to a level between 2,500 and 6,000 gallons.
“Professional engineer certification would be required for a farm with an individual tank capacity greater than 10,000 gallons, aggregate capacity greater than 20,000 gallons, or a history that includes a spill. Self-certification would be allowed for farms with an aggregate capacity between 6,000 gallons and 20,000 gallons.”
While appreciative of the act’s SPCC language, Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford said “there is still more work to do. Small farmers and ranchers will enjoy much-needed relief from this costly burden, but I believe we must continue to push for a higher SPCC exemption that’s more reflective of a producer’s spill risk and financial resources. Farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of their land, and the government should not be in the business of imposing costly mandates for a problem that does not exist.”
Mike Strain, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry commissioner, said once the bill “is enacted, it will enable economic growth of Louisiana and the nation’s trade by strengthening and maintaining a strong water resources infrastructure allowing efficient transport of goods to market.”