Milk Exemption Again in Focus and Another Study Supports Modern Agriculture

November 10, 2010, is the deadline for development and implementation of Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans, a provision under the Clean Water Act (CWA). For those who store between 1,320 gallons and 10,000 gallons of regulated substances (with no single container more than 5,000 gallons) you are allowed to self-certify your SPCC Plan, provided you meet specified conditions. For those who store more than 10,000 gallons of regulated substances (or a single container of more than 5,000 gallons) you are required to have a Professional Engineer certify your plan.

As we have previously mentioned, despite a January 15, 2009, proposed exemption, milk is considered a regulated substance under the SPCC rule and; therefore, must be considered as part of the spill plan…currently.

Regulation of milk under the SPCC rule appears to be headed for modification. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator, Mathy Stanislaus, “EPA is moving forward to take final action on that (January 15, 2009) proposed rulemaking as expeditiously as possible and we hope to have that process completed by early 2011.” This would suggest that, at a minimum, some modification to the reporting deadline is forthcoming.

This recent EPA action has come after a letter was sent to the EPA from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). NMPF Vice President for Scientific and Regulatory affairs Dr. Jamie Jonker, said, “Milk should not fit in the same category as oil and fuels.” Perhaps the EPA will agree. What specific “action” the EPA will take remains to be seen. Stay in touch with your co-op and other trade groups to see how these changes may affect you.

Reducing Greenhouse Gases and limiting agriculture’s “footprint” has been accomplished thanks to modern agricultural practices. This is part of the conclusion from research that appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. The authors state, “We find that while emissions from factors such as fertilizer production and application have increased, the net effect of higher yields has avoided emissions of up to 161 gigatons of carbon (GtC) (590 GtCO2e) since 1961.” They also said, “Our analysis indicates that investment in yield improvements compares favorably with other commonly proposed mitigation strategies. Further yield improvements should therefore be prominent among efforts to reduce future GHG emissions.”

This study and others, such as the study that appeared in Journal of Animal Science (see our June 3, 2009 ezine), provide evidence to refute some of the ad homonym arguments against modern agricultural practices.

If you have any questions regarding environmental compliance issues or need assistance, contact Matthew Schroeder, P.E. ( or Christopher Paré ( at 248.932.0228.

Watertown Daily Times:

SPCC Information for Farmers (EPA):

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s