June 22, 2018
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Obama signs law containing provision that helps Maine farmers

By Rick Levasseur, BDN Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Revisions in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, which President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday, modify federal environmental rules that help farmers across Maine, according to U.S. Sen. Angus King.

Specifically, the modification — co-sponsored by King — shields Maine farmers from having to comply with Environmental Protection Agency rules aimed at large-scale oil companies, according to a statement issued by the independent Maine senator. The issue was raised by Maine potato farmers during a meeting with King last year.

“It’s just common sense — when we see a regulation aimed at one industry inadvertently impacting another, we fix it. And that’s what we did,” King said in the release. “As a result, farmers across Maine won’t have to worry about purchasing new, expensive equipment or hiring a consultant to design a plan they don’t even need. Instead, they can continue to do what they do best — grow local, fresh food and help drive economic activity.”

Without the modification, many farmers in Maine and around the country who have oil and gas tanks on their farms would have been required to hire a certified professional engineer to design a spill prevention control and countermeasure plan, like major oil refineries. It also would have required farmers to purchase new capital equipment to comply with the rule, including dual containment tanks on farm trucks and fuel storage units.

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