On October 18, 2011, the U.S. EPA issued both a direct final (76 FR 64245) and a proposed rule (76 FR 64296) to amended the date by which farms must prepare or amend and implement their Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans, to May 10, 2013. Prior to the close of the public comment period for the concurrent proposed rule, the Agency received written adverse comments concerning the amended compliance dates. This final rule supersedes any and all prior published rules, including the direct final rule, in the extending the compliance date to May 10, 2013, for the owners or operators of farms.

An overwhelming segment of the continental United States was affected by flooding during the spring and summer of 2011. Other areas were impacted by devastating fires. Many counties in many states were declared disaster areas by either the federal or state government or both. As a result, EPA believes that because of their unique nature farms were disproportionately affected and need additional time to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan.

The amendment does not remove the regulatory requirement for owners or operators of farms in operation before August 16, 2002, to maintain and continue implementing an SPCC Plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. Such farms continue to be required to maintain plans during the interim until the applicable compliance date for amending and implementing the amended Plans. Finally, the amendment does not relieve farms from any other applicable environmental regulations or requirements.