Senators Cosponsor Legislation to Protect Farmers from Burdensome Regulations

Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns says two bipartisan bills he is cosponsoring are designed to protect farmers and ranchers from unnecessary and costly regulations regarding fuel storage and transport. The Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship - or FUELS Act - would ensure an EPA regulation addressing oil spills doesn't unnecessarily capture farmers' fuel storage containers. The second bill would eliminate a regulation that requires farmers to comply with additional licensing requirements before transporting certain amounts of diesel fuel to their fields. According to Johanns - these bills would save farmers tens of thousands of dollars in compliance costs. He says we need to protect the land around us - but a one-size-fits-all approach that fails to acknowledge that a farm is different from a gas station and farm trucks are different from long-haul trucks hurts the ag community.

To prevent oil from discharging into U.s. waterways - the EPA enforces Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure regulations. A new rule is scheduled to take effect in May. The FUELS Act would exempt farmers for their above-ground oil storage tanks that hold less than 10-thousand gallons and allow farmers regulated at less than 42-thousand gallons to certify their own prevention plans. This measure is also co-sponsored by Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Mark Pryor and John Boozman of Arkansas, Thad Cochran of Mississippi and James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

The other bill would exempt ag operations from the requirement to obtain a hazardous material endorsement while operating a service vehicle carrying diesel fuel in quantities of one-thousand gallons or less if the vehicle is clearly marked. The measure's other original cosponsors are Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts of Kansas and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

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