House Bill 4583 passed in the Senate today, by a vote of 26 yeas and 10 nays. The bill, which was passed by the House earlier this year, will be on its way to the Governor’s desk pending enrollment by the House, which is expected to take place soon.
The bill will amend Part 215, the section of the statute that regulates underground storage tank funding, and require the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to create the Legacy Release Program (LRP), which will reimburse owners and operators for the costs of corrective action for releases from refined petroleum underground storage tank (UST) systems that occurred, but were not closed, before December 30, 2014.
"This cleanup fund will be a very important catalyst to get older leaking UST sites closed, and should result in immediate activity," said Pete Bosanic, Co-Founder and President at PM Environmental.
The Michigan Underground Storage Tank Authority (MUSTA) program, which went into effect on December 30, 2014, reimburses owners/operators (O/O) for corrective action that addresses releases from leaking UST systems that occurred after that date as well as assists O/O in meeting their financial responsibility. The Fund covers up to $1,000,000 per O/O, and is funded by a one cent per gallon environmental protection regulatory fee on all refined petroleum sold or imported to the State.
The new LRP and MUSTA programs are designed to work together - LRP for releases prior to December 30, 2014, and MUSTA for new releases after December 30, 2014. LRP reimbursements to eligible storage tank O/O will cover 50 percent of the cleanup work, with costs not to exceed $50,000 for all releases on a single site. For example, if the cost of corrective action activities is $100,000, the LRP will reimburse the O/O up to $50,000.
The bill also made changes to MUSTA that will make it easier for UST O/O to rely on certain financial assurance mechanisms or a deposit account to demonstrate their fiscal responsibility for the deductible amounts of $10,000 or $2,000, if they intend to utilize the MUSTA Cleanup Fund. The bill additionally would allow grants and loans to facilitate brownfield redevelopment at properties with leaking USTs, permanent closure of some USTs by the MDEQ, and reimbursement to local units of government and county road commissions for the costs of corrective action in situations where regulated substances were left in place on public highways.
The new bill will have immediate effect after it is signed into law.