EPA classifies milk as oil, forcing costly rules on farmers

Monica Scott
The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS — Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.

Photo by Jon M. Brouwer | The Grand Rapids Press. Frank Konkel, of Silver Sky Dairy in Hesperia, stands near part of his dairy heard. The cows get to graze in pastures during the day. Konkel wants the dairy industry to be exempt from costly EPA regulations.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.

The Hesperia farmer and others would be required to develop and implement spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks. The rules are set to take effect in November, though that date might be pushed back.

“That could get expensive quickly,” Konkel said. “We have a serious problem in the Gulf. Milk is a wholesome product that does not equate to spilling oil.”

But last week environmentalists disagreed at a Senate committee hearing on a resolution from Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, calling for the EPA to rescind its ruling.

“The federal Clean Water Act requirements were meant to protect the environment from petroleum-based oils, not milk,” he said. “I think it is an example of federal government gone amuck.”

The article continues at The Grand Rapids Press.

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