EPA has announced its intention to extend the deadlines for compliance with the recently published Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) plan regulation (see our August, 2002 newsletter). The original deadline to have plan revisions completed was February 17, 2003. Facility modifications were required by 8/18/03. EPA has stated to API that they will publish a direct final rule, which will grant a 1 year extension to these dates. The original rule contained provisions for individual operators to request extensions from the applicable EPA Regional Administrator(s). While EPA’s statement that they will grant an extension is welcome news, it does still present some issues for SPCC plan holders to consider:
- EPA has not yet published a direct final rule, and may not do so until after the February 17, 2003 deadline…., which would leave operators in doubt as to their compliance status.
- The actual text of the direct final rule has not been drafted, so no one knows exactly what type of extension will be granted, and what types of pre-conditions it may contain.
- EPA has given written notice concerning their intention to grant an extension, but has not provided written confirmation that the delays will be for 1 year or only 6 months.
- A direct final rule is still subject to public comment and potential revision or complete withdrawal after it is published.
What is a prudent operator to do? We would recommend that, if possible, you complete your SPCC revisions by the February 17, 2003 deadline. If that is not possible, request individual extensions from the applicable EPA Regional Administrators, mentioning EPA’s public statements about issuing an extension as well as areas of the rule that are currently being re-examined by API and EPA. Even if the EPA administrators do not formally reply to the extension request, this will document your good-faith efforts to comply with the rule.
Shameless commerce plug: We are working with operators on hundreds of SPCC plan revisions, and have a very efficient process in place to conduct field visits, gather data, and prepare and certify the final plans. We would be glad to provide a quote for your facilities.
For additional RCP information on SPCC Compliance click here.