EPA to Regulate Dairy Milk Spills as per Oil Spills Update: EPA Responds

posted at 12:15 pm on February 5, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

No, it’s not a headline from The Onion. It appears to be real. The Wall Street Journal editorial board provides the details:

Two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule that subjects dairy producers to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure program, which was created in 1970 to prevent oil discharges in navigable waters or near shorelines. Naturally, it usually applies to oil and natural gas outfits. But the EPA has discovered that milk contains “a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil,” as the agency put it in the Federal Register.

In other words, the EPA thinks the next blowout may happen in rural Vermont or Wisconsin. Other dangerous pollution risks that somehow haven’t made it onto the EPA docket include leaks from maple sugar taps and the vapors at Badger State breweries.

Thank God the EPA has finally stepped in and realized the critical milk spill dangers which have been plaguing this nation since its inception. Fortunately for many of our younger readers, you don’t recall how it was in the bad old days before the EPA came into its full powers. Why, in our day, my own mother used to feed us hot dogs that were boiled in water rather than being cooked on an open flame. And – prepare yourselves – she would dump the hot dog water right down the sink.

I can only imagine the number of harmless carp in the Erie Canal and Hudson River who died at this woman’s hands.

The EPA clearly has far too much time on its hands. We’re looking to cut costs. This is a hint, Washington. You don’t need to get rid of the agency entirely, but a rapid, sharply focused review of the mission and the resource requirements should clearly be in order after this. I’m sure we can trim more than a bit of fat here.

UPDATE: Mathy Stanislaus, the Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, took exception with this article and submitted the following comments.

The February 5, 2011 blog, “EPA to Regulate Dairy Milk Spills as per Oil
Spills,” gives readers the impression that EPA intends to regulate all small dairy farms as part of its work to prevent oil spills. This is incorrect.

EPA has already proposed to exclude milk and milk product storage tanks from the spill prevention regulatory program. This common sense decision was announced months ago. Moreover, EPA already has stayed any compliance requirements for milk and milk product storage tanks pending the agency’s final action on the proposed permanent exclusion. It is known that EPA will take final action on the proposed permanent exclusion this spring.

EPA stands with the President in his commitment to using common sense and transparency to review federal regulations. This commitment to transparency is precisely why EPA publicly announced its intention to delay compliance requirements for milk and milk product storage tanks in October of 2010.

Sincerely,
Mathy Stanislaus
Assistant Administrator
EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
Washington, DC

If true, that would be some good news for a change. However, as we continue to watch this story develop, I would note two key phrases in Mr. Stanislaus’ letter. They are “proposed to exclude” and “stayed any compliance requirements … pending the agency’s final action…

Translation: the requirements under discussion are, in fact, not removed from the regulations in any final fashion. Putting a stay on something is a temporary act by definition. If those changes are finalized, then all well and good. But until that process is completed this stands as yet another example of ham handed actions by the EPA which do no credit to the agency or this country.


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I’m fast becoming a believer in the policy of always opposing new government programs no matter how well-intentioned or reasonable sounding. Children’s health, environment protection, preventing animal cruelty, save the whales, whatever. It always starts out sounding like a good idea, but liberals inevitably turn any mandate for the use of government power into another empire of ever-expanding control (with an ever-expanding budget) over things they have no business controlling, and there seems to be no way to stop it except to keep it from starting in the first place.

Socratease on February 5, 2011 at 4:02 PM

When you control the food…you control the population /Joseph Stalin

trs on February 5, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Believe or note, the EPA once did serve a good and worthy purpose. Sadly, as we all know, it has been taken over by politically correct, ideological hacks who don’t realize that they are doing far more harm to the cause of environmentalism than did Hooker Chemical.

JFS61 on February 5, 2011 at 4:15 PM

The point is to make everybody guilty of something, so when they arrest you for speaking out against them, the official charges will be something that does not blatantly violate the constitution.

Slowburn on February 5, 2011 at 2:59 PM

There’s an Ayn Rand quote I read somewhere before about making people criminals from passing useless laws.

No smoking? You bet. Even though tobacco is a legal product
Seatbelts? Have to wear one of them or get ticketed by the police.
Toilets? Can only use a certain amount of water.

CO2? We’re all guilty of breathing. That one pretty much catches us all, doesn’t it?

BowHuntingTexas on February 5, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Insanity knows no bounds.

I read about this over at Ace.

Lactating bovines hurt motherirth.

Geochelone on February 5, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Where have you all been?

This one came across the table during the Gulf oil spill. EPA figured it would be a pretty good time to get another stupid one in under the radar I guess.

Jim708 on February 5, 2011 at 4:47 PM

The EPA needs to die…..I could save this country so much money if I were to have as much time as Obamalinsky has had since his media assisted Coronation…Department of Education-gone. U.N. participation and funding-gone. See, I could have all kinds of fun…..

Zero is turning out to be Less than Zero….

adamsmith on February 5, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Contrary to the adage, there will be lots of crying over spilled milk after this insane rule goes into effect. Will we have to have hazmat burials of people know, or obese people, cause their bodies contain thirty or fifty percent fats? Are all cemeteries now considered to be hazardous waste sites?

eaglewingz08 on February 5, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Hey let us find even more ways to drive up the price of food./

CWforFreedom on February 5, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Women will need to get a birth permit, in case their breasts start to produce milk that exceeds EPA guidelines.

pedestrian on February 5, 2011 at 5:34 PM

. Other dangerous pollution risks that somehow haven’t made it onto the EPA docket include leaks from maple sugar taps and the vapors at Badger State breweries.

I guess most people would laugh at that bolded part.

But let me tell you. . . in 2000, I owned a small microbrewery in a resort town. We brewed late night/early morning because during our brewing process we released a quantity of steam that tourists often thought was smoke.

To make a long story longer, one day a vacationing EPA official was jogging in the early A.M. and spotted our steam. After calling the fire department, using his “official” clout to force them to come out and generally causing a ruckus, he discovered what it was. This caused him to “open an investigation” into the steam from our steam plant and of course, the materials into and out of our brewery.

The list of “required information” was ridiculous, and would have cost us tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to collect and present, let alone fight. Luckily our congressmen got involved and turned it into a pissing match between BATFe and EPA, our little brewery was lost in the scuffle and they left us alone.

This EPA idiot would have run me out of business just because he embarrassed himself by calling “fire”.

The agency needs to be gutted then quartered.

Jason Coleman on February 5, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Defund the EPA.

A simple answer to a complex monopoly of idiots making rules nobody can obey without a fee or a tax.

Boehner? Boehner?

Key West Reader on February 5, 2011 at 5:52 PM

This EPA idiot would have run me out of business just because he embarrassed himself by calling “fire”.

The agency needs to be gutted then quartered.

Jason Coleman on February 5, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Wow! Glad you got out of that progressive flimflamsaranwrapclusterfark with your skin still on!

But, let us not fret or furrow our brows. The Obama says that we will be a beacon of light. And lo, the people did scowel.

Key West Reader on February 5, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Thomas Sowell has an interesting spin on this

Kini on February 5, 2011 at 6:30 PM

They gotta have something to regulate after all oil drilling is stopped.

lonestar1 on February 5, 2011 at 6:49 PM

You don’t need to get rid of the agency entirely…

Couldn’t agree with you more Jazz. Eliminating only 97% of the agency I think is something I might agree to…only because of my magnanimity of course and my willingness to reach across the aisle.

Amendment X on February 5, 2011 at 7:17 PM

You don’t need to get rid of the agency entirely…

Yeah you do. We have a congress. We don’t need an agency.
Congress can pass a law for anything and everything the agencies do. Congress loves the agencies, though, because they will do all the things that congress can’t because congress can be held accountable. Senators and congressmen and woman have names and faces. They run for re-elections. People who work in agencies are nameless and can’t be fired. It’s called civil service.

You think we need a law banning spilled milk? Congress can pass it. Let them try. But hey, it’s all so much easier for “the agency” to just decide on it’s own that spilled milk is a threat. Doesn’t take a vote at all. And congress’s hands are tied cause it’s “the agency.”

JellyToast on February 5, 2011 at 7:58 PM

We have a retired pastor that is a school lunch room volunteer at breakfast. He says the poor kids with free breakfast toss their milk carton un opened and the fruit un touched. That means the trash can is a haz amt site. But the kids are more obese for some reason than the lunch bunch which buy or bring lunches.

seven on February 5, 2011 at 8:19 PM

These are the same type of people who back in the 70′s suggested that farmers plow in 3rd gear so they wouldn’t use as much diesel fuel. Never mind that fact that is impossible to do and the faster you go the more fuel you burn. Is it possible to get anyone in government who is not a complete moron? It must be part of the job qualifications.
Question 1: Are you a complete moron who has never been out of D.C. and has never seen a farm or a tree?
Answer: Why yes, I’ve lived in the middle of D.C. my entire life and don’t know what a farm is. Does meat come in the plastic wrapper?

flytier on February 5, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Want to see 4, 5 or 6 dollar a gallon milk? Want to see many more dairy farmers out of business? Let this asinine rule go into effect.

Look into the laws and regulations that will have to be complied with, how they may be slightly different in each state and you will see a regulatory nightmare that Farmer Bob will not be able to deal with.

…and the fines and penalties that go with it will mean Farmer Bob is out of business with one infraction.

91Veteran on February 5, 2011 at 8:33 PM

You don’t need to get rid of the agency entirely…

Couldn’t agree with you more Jazz. Eliminating only 97% of the agency I think is something I might agree to…

If you follow right wing news, then yes, every EPA regulation is misguided and the entire agency needs to be defunded. But if you understood the actual behavior of US corporations today, then you’d realize that the EPA regularly issues completely valid fines to companies that respect their local communities by dumping toxic chemicals and hazardous waste into rivers, streams, and other water sources drawn for drinking water.

It’s amazing that people are so naive to think that no regulation is a plausible option. Try spending a couple months hunting or water skiing anywhere in China even remotely near a major city and you’ll see what regulation-free industry does to your surroundings.

bayam on February 5, 2011 at 9:19 PM

We’ll have to import our milk from China. I think they homogenize with radiator fluid or something.

JellyToast on February 5, 2011 at 9:40 PM

WHy doesnt the Federal government just take over all industry. Obama is smart and articulate. I’m sure he knows enough ivy-league academians that are smart enough to control everything.

Inanemergencydial on February 5, 2011 at 9:59 PM

There’s an Ayn Rand quote I read somewhere before about making people criminals from passing useless laws.

No smoking? You bet. Even though tobacco is a legal product
Seatbelts? Have to wear one of them or get ticketed by the police.
Toilets? Can only use a certain amount of water.

CO2? We’re all guilty of breathing. That one pretty much catches us all, doesn’t it?

BowHuntingTexas on February 5, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Here is a very entertaining, but long video about this subject.

DFCtomm on February 5, 2011 at 10:19 PM

DFCtomm on February 5, 2011 at 10:19 PM

The good stuff that addresses the conditions you were talking about come at roughly 6:20 in the video.

DFCtomm on February 5, 2011 at 10:25 PM

I guess the bees nest hasn’t been stirred up enough yet, but I feel it’s just about there.

wheelgun on February 5, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Obama…….the WRECKING BALL of America!!

One industry at a time were being destroyed from within our very own shores!!

PappyD61 on February 5, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Who actually knows when there is a milk spill? Is the EPA going to inspect the barns for evidence? This is a sure sign that agency staffers don’t have enough real work and now they’re just making stuff up. Where’s Ben and Jerry?

mph on February 5, 2011 at 2:35 PM

If you have ever been involved in any govt program, i.e. govt backed farm loans, insurance, disaster aid, etc., then these people in the USDA, FDA, EPA etc have got your number.
Plus, the information they can obtain from satellite photos on your operation is stunning.
You cannot hide from them.
We small producers will be eliminated.
The large agribusiness producers want that.
We are their competition & if the govt can regulate us out of business, then we will all be at the mercy of only a handful of food producers worldwide.
I’m not kidding.
If you want to open a feed lot for instance, the permitting process & set up per EPA etc rules is a minimum of $50,000+ dollars, no matter the number of head you want to feed.
Meanwhile, giant producers are often allowed to self police, i.e. large slaughter facilities self testing for E. coli, etc.
Al Gore, when he was no the campaign trail, told a young agriculture college student that he needed to go into some other business other than ranching bcs there would be no future in it.

Badger40 on February 5, 2011 at 11:35 PM

91Veteran on February 5, 2011 at 8:33 PM

3.49 a gallon today. Fuggedabout butter. Can’t even get free cow poop to pack horse’s feet here.

katy the mean old lady on February 6, 2011 at 12:28 AM

In TX and NM, milk spills have been treated as contaminants for quite a while. NM not so much as TX. And you’d be surprised how often you’ll see 50000# of milk dumped out in a ditch. You have to remove all the “contaminated” soil and replace it with clean fill dirt.
What’s funny is when something goes wrong and a tanker doesn’t get unloaded on time, or can’t be unloaded (bacteria counts, temp, antibiotics and such) the coop has to dispose of it…by paying a farmer to spread it on a field or dump it into a waste water lagoon.

Tio on February 6, 2011 at 12:39 AM

What bugs me is dairies are already required to have a spill management plan for waste water. The way I read this is not much different from the regulations we’re already dealing with. I don’t understand why milk had to be specifically singled out with new rules.

Tio on February 6, 2011 at 12:43 AM

Boy howdy when the next margarine plant blows a volcano of fat all over the place the EPA is gonna come down on their arses like – well, you imagine it.

{^_^}

herself on February 6, 2011 at 1:11 AM

Yes, well that’s all well and good, but what about cow farts?

tbear44 on February 6, 2011 at 3:13 AM

Lmao! Look at what they’re doing to Florida if you want to see where the future lies with the other states. Don’t know if anyone knows it’s coming but nitrogen/phosphorus are being regulated by federal fiat in FL and it will come into play elsewhere if our lawsuit fails. Actually, nobody knows because we’re pretty much the test case. Thank EPA under Obama’s watch for not challenging a lawsuit from environmental groups demanding it….

specialkayel on February 6, 2011 at 3:50 AM

I worked for over 6 years as a contractor to the EPA. I have had this discussion before in a slightly different way; of one who watches from the inside. There are only 2 jobs of worth in the EPA. On is doing fundamental pollution science and the other is making regulations. In the latter case, you need to continue to make regulations to prove your worth. My view is that the regulation makers who were not involved in carbon emission regulation are trying to prove their worth and the current agency management is tacitly letting them.

nedludd on February 6, 2011 at 5:41 AM

I worked for the EPA back in the 70′s for a couple of semesters while in college. Got to see the inner workings so to speak. The first time I was there, Republicans were in charge, so we were at lots of industrial sites, chemical companies and city water systems. Second time Obama the 1st came in and suddenly we were redirected to worry about cows making cow pies in the country and completely ignored industry. I must say that even back then the oil and chemical industry really was the cleanest sites we ever traveled to, while the two worst were a meat packing plant and a soap factory.

The government waste at the EPA was impressive. They would buy new equipment each year, while selling the identical items from the previous year for little to nothing even when not using it very much. When I asked why, the answer was that was how they kept their budget from shrinking, and got more each year. I suspect that all of the agencies run that way, so congress could cut 25% off the top and they would all survive.

Highplains on February 6, 2011 at 5:43 AM

There’s an Ayn Rand quote I read somewhere before about making people criminals from passing useless laws.

BowHuntingTexas on February 5, 2011 at 4:19 PM

That would be this one:

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
-Ayn Rand

And while we’re talking about Rand:

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.
-Ayn Rand

Vic on February 6, 2011 at 7:57 AM

Screw the milk producers! They’ll have my sympathy when they start supporting the removal of all the government-imposed competitive restrictions that have created “dairy cartels”. Live by the sword – die by the sword.

rock the casbah on February 6, 2011 at 8:04 AM

Do it for the kittehs!!!

fluffy on February 6, 2011 at 8:10 AM

We are all turning into Portland. Wait til those in the epa find out that bears sh#t in the woods.

Kissmygrits on February 6, 2011 at 8:36 AM

BowHuntingTexas on February 5, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Sums up the issue well, we are all guilty of violating an EPA law/rule just to continue our existence. One, would think that the liberal left use their EPA as their own brown boot squads to enforce the rules of living on its opponents. Charging them of High Crimes for just for living.

With that in mind, I have been able to define myself, according to EPA rules as an endangered species to protect me from retribution and them.them from used by EPA

MSGTAS on February 6, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Cut their funding immediately.

Amjean on February 6, 2011 at 8:55 AM

I think people that work for the EPA, who breathe out carbon dioxide are polluting the planet. Therefore they should be fined and classified as a danger.

Wills on February 6, 2011 at 9:03 AM

There’s an Ayn Rand quote I read somewhere before about making people criminals from passing useless laws.

BowHuntingTexas on February 5, 2011 at 4:19 PM

I learned way back in Jr. High school, way back when they still taught, that in the Soviet Union there were so many laws that the police could stop people at random on the streets and find them in violation of a law. That’s the purpose of so many laws.

JellyToast on February 6, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Make fun if you want. This means they’re up to something.

Mr_Magoo on February 6, 2011 at 11:17 AM

bayam on February 5, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Somehow I knew you’d be the one to come here and defend this idiocy. You really have no problem with this, do you? Its ok, you can be honest, we all know your answer.

runawayyyy on February 6, 2011 at 11:30 AM

bayam on February 5, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Oh, those evil corporations again. Yeah, they want us all to die. So, our EPA is going to regulate China how?

chewmeister on February 6, 2011 at 11:41 AM

If we trim the fat in Washington, will EPA regulate it’s disposal in EPA approved storage areas? Which in this case, would be the EPA’s budget.

hawksruleva on February 6, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Badger40 wrote:

We small producers will be eliminated.
The large agribusiness producers want that.

This is the ultimate goal. Control by the big boys. This is not a capitalistic/monopolistic goal, but a nationalist/socialist goal. When the big corporations nail the production, the EPA FDA USDA are ready to step in and ultimately exert total control.

Grunch42 on February 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

The Obama admin has made it really tough for US farmers. If Repub’s are smart, they’ll seize this and additionally support the Corn Ethanol program. In doing so, they’ll take the entire Farm vote back away from the dem’s in 2012. Something the GOP stupidly lost in 08. DD

Darvin Dowdy on February 6, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Oh, those evil corporations again. Yeah, they want us all to die. So, our EPA is going to regulate China how?

chewmeister on February 6, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Go back to the shearing pen, sheeple.

Dark-Star on February 6, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Would you look at that?

Inanemergencydial on February 6, 2011 at 11:24 PM

This is the ultimate goal. Control by the big boys. This is not a capitalistic/monopolistic goal, but a nationalist/socialist goal. When the big corporations nail the production, the EPA FDA USDA are ready to step in and ultimately exert total control.

Grunch42 on February 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Socialists have always worked with big corporations. Big corporations don’t mind at all working with socialists. Look into history. Hitler worked with corporations and so did Mussolini.

JellyToast on February 6, 2011 at 11:43 PM

What’s next, scrubbers for fart fans?

Speechlesstx on February 7, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Big corporations don’t mind at all working with socialists. Look into history. Hitler worked with corporations and so did Mussolini.

JellyToast on February 6, 2011 at 11:43 PM

THIS.

Badger40 on February 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM

What´s next? A Milking Moratorium??

gullxn on February 7, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Who knows what those evil farmers are feeding their cattle to make milk toxic. They’re after the children. We need government oversight/control of all farms because we know how incorruptible government is.
/sarc off.

abcurtis on February 7, 2011 at 1:37 PM

THE WRECKING BALL’s wife is going to take out the Restaurant Industry next.

Destruction and Havoc.

TRULY……

…….America’s Chickens come on home to woost. And their nest is in the White House.

PappyD61 on February 7, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Received this response on my own page:

http://www.dairyherd.com/dairy-news/latest/milk-storage-exempt-from-epa-rule-113995189.html

the EPA ruled that you have to have a container of > 1,000,000 gallons of milk to have to have the disaster plan.

It appears accurate. regulating 1 million gallon spills of anything doesn’t seem terribly unreasonable.

One Angry Christian on February 7, 2011 at 5:35 PM

It appears accurate. regulating 1 million gallon spills of anything doesn’t seem terribly unreasonable.

One Angry Christian on February 7, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Until they are after your operation.
Do you know that EPA already forces all farming & ranching operations to have a similar setup for fuel,oil(all kinds of oil-which is where this milk reg stems from, like soybean oils etc.) of 1350 gallons or more.
1350 gallons is NOTHING.
We have 2 fuel tanks on our place that could hold 1500 gal each.
However, nowadays, unless you use fuel constantly, it doesn’t pay to buy fuel ahead of time bcs it goes ‘bad’ really quick.
A ND rancher rigged a device using fiberglass water tanks to comply with EPA regs & it cost him a min of abt $2500.
I even doubt the EPA would approve anyway.
If you give the EPA an inch (which is what they want) they take a mile in the long run.
What sounds reasonable to those not affected is often very unreasonable & downright stupid & useless when actually implemented.

Badger40 on February 8, 2011 at 9:14 AM

And EPA starts out Nazi-like, then relaxes when the public goes ape crap. Then they stealthily advance the radical agenda quietly when no one is looking.
EPA needs to get GONE.

Badger40 on February 8, 2011 at 9:16 AM

Want to run a dairy farm? Get a lobbyist and some waivers.

I’m glad we got rid of that whole “rule of law” thing; it was getting in the way of the graft, corruption, and “pull” the government needs.

bayam on February 5, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Hooray for government control of businesses, and vaguely considered regulations.

One Angry Christian on February 7, 2011 at 5:35 PM

And hooray for vaguely written regulation that can be “reinterpreted” anytime to punish someone who behaves inappropriately. Of course everyone gets a “waiver” to start with… but that’s not written into the regulation so don’t cross the government or your waiver will be pulled and you’ll be driven out of business.

Good to see the defense of this sort of thing. I’d hate to be able to figure out the rules to run a business without having to have lobbyists getting waivers for normal practices. I mean then small businesses could compete and you’d have a more open marketplace and more jobs, while the government had less control over your life… who’d want that?

gekkobear on February 8, 2011 at 1:36 PM

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