Senator Tester says EPA must help farmers & ranchers understand fuel storage regulations

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Senator Jon Tester is telling the Environmental Protection Agency to hold off on new regulations of fuel storage tanks until the agency “fully notifies” Montana farmers and ranchers about the impact of the new rules.

The EPA wants to require more farmers and ranchers to prepare oil spill prevention and containment plans for their fuel tanks, but the agency has not made it clear who will be affected by the change.  Under the new rules, Montanans who store more than 1,320 gallons of fuel on their property would have to list all oil containers, outline steps to prevent a spill, and demonstrate measures to keep spills from reaching water.

Tester says the agency did a poor job explaining the new rules and must carefully evaluate the impact on rural Montana.

“With little more than a year before these rules are supposed to go into effect, many farmers and ranchers continue to have questions about their deadlines and the certification process,” Tester wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.  “I urge you not to implement new fuel tank regulations until producers are fully notified about how these rules will affect their business.”

Tester, the Senate’s only active farmer, says that the EPA must work with the Agriculture Department to better spread the word and work with Montanans.

“As a farmer, I must remind you that ordinary producers in Montana are too busy with everyday work to follow every posting in the Federal Register, and most don’t have time to check the EPA’s website,” Tester added.  “It is the EPA’s responsibility to make certain farmers and ranchers know what’s coming, and to be available to work with them.”

Tester recently called for the Labor Department to withdraw a controversial proposal restricting the work of young people on family farms and ranches, saying that it prevents kids from learning a solid work ethic.

Source: Office of Senator Tester

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