Agriculture Gets SPCC Extension to May 2013

On Tuesday, October 18, 2011, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final direct rule that extends the date by which certain farms must comply with the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rules to May 10, 2013. 

A couple of important points to keep in mind

  • The amendment to the compliance date does not change the requirement for owners or operators of farms in operation before August 16, 2002.  If you were in operation prior to this date, the EPA will expect you to, “maintain and continue implementing a SPCC Plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect.”
  • The extension is effective November 7, 2011, without further notice.  If the agency receives adverse comments, they will publish a “timely withdrawal in the federal register.”

We again encourage producers to take advantage of the agriculture-specific, SPCC self-certification template and webinar that can be found on National Milk Producers Federation website

Here is a link to the federal register notice

If you have any questions about the SPCC rules, contact Christopher Paré ( or Matthew Schroeder ( at 248-932-0228.


2012 US Environmental Enforcement Focus

In reviewing the 2012 “Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) Final National Program Manager (NPM) Guidance” one word seemed to standout: aggressively.  

The very first enforcement goal for 2012 listed by OECA is, “Aggressively go after pollution problems that make a difference in communities.”  They further state in describing this goal; “EPA will use vigorous civil and criminal enforcement that targets the most serious water, air and chemical hazards; and advance environmental justice by protecting vulnerable communities.”

This one statement seemed to raise several questions

  • What is “vigorous…enforcement”?
  • How will they quantify the “most serious”?
  • How will “environmental justice” be interpreted?  
  • What are “vulnerable” communities and how do they propose to protect them?

In our most recent Environmental Minute we take brief look at this document and in light of it, offer some practical environmental compliance tips.  Also if you would like to read the nearly 90-page OECA document, we provide you a link in our Environmental Minute as well.

If you would like to read more about this OECA’s guidance, see our Environmental Minute.  If you need assistance with an environmental compliance or remediation issue, feel free to contact our office below.

SPCC Common Violations

On the front page of the October Environmental Compliance Newsletter from BLR ( was a timely article: Compliance Tip: 10 Common SPCC Violations.

Here are just a few of the 10 common violations as reported by BLR:

  • The SPCC Plan does not have a signature
  •  The SPCC Plan is not certified by an engineer (when applicable)
  •  Personnel not properly instructed in spill prevention procedures
  •  Compatibility of tanks with the materials stored in the tanks not discussed in plan.

Remember, the SPCC rules apply to those who have the capacity to store 1,320 gallons or more of oil (and other regulated substances).  So if you have a 2,000 gallon tank and it is only a quarter full, it is still regulated. The deadline to comply with the SPCC amendments is November 10, 2011.

If you have questions about SPCC plans contact Matthew Schroeder, PE ( at 248-932-0228.

SPCC: Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan

Environmental Remediation Part III

We jokingly refer to our Environmental Remediation Seminars as a semester of material in about two hours. Considering we cover two major topics (Site Characterization and Soil & Groundwater Remediation), over about 200 PowerPoint slides…it may not be a typical university course…it’s better! (in my humble opinion).

Over the past 7 months, we have presented our Environmental Remediation Seminar three times, each at different venues, in two different countries. Based on the response of the attendees, each of these has been very well received.

If you would like to be informed about our next Environmental Remediation Seminar (time and date to be determined), let me know ( and I’ll make sure you get a “personal invitation.”

We have short video clip from the Richmond Hill, Ontario, seminar on our facebook

Did Obama “Double-Cross Environmentalist” or Make a Good Decision?

Did President Obama “double-cross” environmentalists?  That is the allegation in a recent article in “The Nation.”  In discussing the President’s order to delay new regulations on ozone emissions, the editors of The Nation say, “Obama blatantly double-crossed environmentalists, who were suing the EPA over these regulations when Obama took office.”  See our April 6, 2011, post for a related story on ozone

The article in The Nation also takes issue with President Obama’s stance on the “…climate-killing tar sands pipeline to run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.”  Opposition to the “tar sands pipeline” (The Keystone XL Project) led to two weeks of protest and over 1,200 arrests.  This made this protest the largest act of environmental civil disobedience in US history.  The entire article can be found here

The Heartland Institute and other conservative groups take a different view of The Keystone XL Project.  In a July 26, 2011, commentary The Heartland Institute states, “The likely alternative to the Keystone XL Project is a series of pipelines to the British Columbia coast. The Energy Department study concludes those pipelines would open Canadian oil sands to Asian markets and substantially increase U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern and African crude oil.” Their commentary can be found here