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Apr 2013
29
April 29, 2013

Board Recommends Using State Fund at Underground Storage Tank Sites


An advisory board created to develop a program to assist underground storage tank (UST) owners and operators with their obligations under Part 213 of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act has recommended new legislation that will boost the amount of money available.

The Michigan Legislature created an Underground Storage Tank System Cleanup Advisory Board in 2012 to make recommendations on developing a cleanup program. Funded by the Michigan Refined Petroleum Fund (RPF), the program is intended to help owners and operators comply with UST obligations under Part 213.

On March 1, 2013, the board issued a report that reviewed the history of Michigan’s UST program and offered suggestions for the future.

The primary recommendation involves renewed use of the RPF. The Michigan Underground Storage Tank Financial Assurance Fund (MUSTFA), which subsequently became the RPF, was created in 1989 and is funded by a 7/8-cent-per-gallon environmental regulatory fee on all refined petroleum sold in the state.

The MUSTFA/RPF fee has generated approximately $50 million annually since its inception. But that money has not been used as originally intended. Rather than helping UST owners and operators with Part 213 obligations, the RPF has been used to fill budget shortfalls in other areas, such as air quality programs, Department of Agriculture programs and debt service for bonds unrelated to USTs.

The board recommends developing new legislation to restore all of the annual RPF revenue to the UST program. The revenue would be used to:
 
  • Provide financial responsibility for UST owners and operators to address future releases
  • Fund a reimbursement program for corrective action to address unknown historical releases
  • Conduct corrective action to respond to imminent and substantial threats to public health or the environment posed by leaking USTs without a viable owner or operator
If the recommendations are implemented, the state can expect to have a new fund to help pay for cleanup at UST sites, which would be good news for UST owners and operators.

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