Several developments concerning the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations occurred in 2006 and 2007. Thoughtful planning and continued tracking of these developments will be necessary to ensure compliance.

EPA revised the SPCC plan requirements in 2006 to:

  • Provide the option to self-certify SPCC Plans in lieu of review and certification by a Professional Engineer for facilities that have an aboveground oil storage capacity of 10,000 gallons or less and meet other qualifying criteria.
  • Provide an alternative to the general secondary containment requirement without requiring a determination of impracticability for qualified oil-filled operational equipment.
  • Define and exempt particular vehicle fuel tanks and other on-board bulk oil storage containers (called motive power containers).
  • Exempt mobile refuelers from the sized secondary containment requirements for bulk storage containers.
  • Remove SPCC requirements for animal fats and vegetable oils for certain types of facilities.
  • Extend the SPCC compliance dates for farms.

Continue Reading Keeping Up With Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Regulations

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion June 19, 2006 in Rapanos v. United States and Carabell v. United States, cases focusing on the extent of the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers (“COE”) over wetlands under the Clean Water Act (“Act”).  The Act allows the Corps to regulate “navigable waters of the United States.”  However, “navigable waters” under the Act is defined as “the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas” and are not limited to waters that are “navigable” in the traditional sense.  33 U.S.C. §1362(7).  For years the Corps interpreted the Act expansively to assert jurisdiction over virtually all wetlands regardless of how remote the connection to a navigable water, using the Commerce Clause as a basis. That was prior to the Supreme Court decision in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook Cty. v. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159, 167, 121 S.Ct. 675, 148 L.Ed.2d 576 (2001) (“SWANCC”), which held that “isolated” wetlands do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Corps and that wetlands must be adjacent or have a “significant nexus” to navigable waters to fall within the Corps’ jurisdiction.  Following SWANCC, the Corps and the courts have wrestled with the meaning of “isolated” and “significant nexus,” with the Corps ever seeking to retain the broadest jurisdiction. .
Continue Reading Wetlands Jurisdiction…More Questions Than Answers

Several recent developments concerning the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations occurred in December 2005 that may have a major impact on Louisiana facilities. First, the EPA released the long awaited SPCC “Guidance for Regional Inspectors.” The Guidance is intended to assist regional inspectors in reviewing a facility’s implementation of the rule, but will also be beneficial for regulated facilities in determining how particular provisions of the rule may be applied.
Continue Reading EPA Releases Guidance Document and Proposed Amendments to Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Rules