US anti-oil spill measures changed

The environment watchdog in America has finalised changes to rules intended to stop industrial oil spills polluting the nation's waterways.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this month (November) announced final amendments to the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule.

It said: “The amendments clarify regulatory requirements, tailor requirements to particular industry sectors, and streamline certain requirements for a facility owner or operator subject to the rule.

“With these changes, the agency expects to encourage greater compliance with the SPCC regulations, thus resulting in increased protection of human health and the environment.”

The SPCC rule applies to operators or owners of facilities that drill, refine, produce, store, distribute or use oil and oil products.

Under the rule facilities must put in place plans with measures to prevent any spills from reaching navigable waters or shorelines.

SPCC plans are described as a lynchpin of EPA efforts to prevent spills.

Any facility experiencing two or more oil spills within a 12-month period must hand in their SPCC plan for EPA review.

Each plan is unique to its facility but must cover a number of elements, including operating procedures to prevent oil spills, measures to prevent any spill reaching the environment and countermeasures to contain, clean up and ease the effects of any spill that does.

The SPCC plan must be certified by a registered professional engineer and be available at the facility or at the nearest field office.

For more information about the SPCC rule go to the following link:

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