John Stossel catches the Environmental Protection Agency proposing to treat spilled milk as if it were hazardous waste. He quotes a story from a local newspaper in an area where there are plenty of dairy farms: EPA regulations state that "milk typically contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil. Thus, containers storing milk are subject to the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Program rule ..." This seems like one right out of the Onion, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
This one has also gotten some attention already on the Marginal Revolution and Cato@Liberty blogs. The Holland Sentinel and the Watertown Daily Times have details, with the Watertown paper explaining:
In large enough amounts, milk can threaten aquatic wildlife. A news report in England in 2002 cited a crashed milk truck as a serious threat to a stream and lake in Staffordshire because milk was pouring into the water.
Thousands of fish were at risk, environmental officials said, because milk is a "highly polluting substance" that robs oxygen from the water, an environmental official said at the time.
Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan, a Republican, has introduced legislation to try to get the EPA to back off. A press release from her office quotes her as saying, "It is simply ridiculous for the EPA to suggest that milk presents the same danger to our environment as oil. ...The EPA has an important job and it should properly place its focus where it belongs – on spilled oil, not spilled milk."