H.R. 311: Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act

H.R. 311

Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act

March 11, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 311, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act, under a suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced on January 18, 2013 by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.

Bill Summary

H.R. 311 requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), when implementing the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule with respect to any farm, to require certification of compliance with the rule by a professional engineer only for a farm with an individual tank with an aboveground storage capacity greater than 10,000 gallons[1], an aggregate aboveground storage capacity of at least 42,000 gallons, or a history that includes a spill, as determined by the Administrator.  This legislation allows the owner or operator of a farm with aggregate aboveground storage capacity greater than 10,000 gallons but less than 42,000 gallons and no history of spills to self-certify their compliance.  This legislation exempts any farm with aboveground storage capacity of less than or equal to 10,000 gallons and no history of spills from SPCC Rule requirements.

[1] Note: This is an upward adjustment from 1,320 gallons of oil storage 


“Section 311 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires the President to issue regulations establishing procedures, methods, equipment, and other requirements to prevent discharges of oil from vessels and facilities and to contain such discharges.”[1]  The EPA Administrator is responsible for regulating non-transportation-related onshore facilities.[2]  The SPCC rule was published in 1973 under the authority of Section 311 of the CWA, and set forth requirements for the prevention of and response to oil discharges at non-transportation facilities.[3]  Revisions were proposed throughout the 1990s, and the final rule was published in 2002.  In 2009, EPA updated the SPCC rule to expand regulations, “applying it to nearly all farms and limiting a 2006 rule that reduced compliance requirements for small farms with oil storage of 10,000 gallons or less.”[4]  The EPA began enforcing the rule on May 10, 2013 without any reductions in regulatory burden the rule imposes on farmers.[5]  This includes compliance costs that can reach into the tens-of-thousands of dollars.[6]  H.R. 311 would raise the SPCC exemption level and would allow farmers to self-certify compliance if their storage facilities exceed the exemption level of 10,000 gallons if the farmer has no prior history of spills.

[2] Id. at 2.

[3] Id. at 2.

[4] Id. at 2-3

[5] Id. at 3.

[6] Id. at 3.


CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 311 would cost $2 million over the 2014-2018 period.  However, CBO estimates that the resources necessary to support the existing rule would instead be used to implement H.R. 311.  H.R. 311 would not affect direct spending or revenues.[1]

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.