Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Senate Bill Filling Funding Gap In DEP’s Underground Storage Tank Program OK’d By Committee

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Monday unanimously approved legislation--Senate Bill 649 (Yudichak-D-Luzerne)-- which extends expiring environmental cleanup programs and fills a funding gap in DEP’s Underground Storage Tank Program.
“The Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act contains important provisions that enable small tank owners to prevent and mitigate environmental liabilities before they become more intractable environmental problems for Pennsylvania,” said Sen. John Yudichak, Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. “The department does an exceptional job of meeting the demands of regulation and enforcement, but the increased allocation provided under Senate Bill 649 will go a long way to ensuring DEP is adequately staffed to meet future demands of these two important environmental programs and overall program operating costs.”
Senate Bill 649 amends the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act to reauthorize grant and environmental cleanup programs administered by DEP– the Underground Storage Tank Environmental Cleanup Program and the Underground Storage Tank Pollution Prevention Program.
Both programs are currently set to expire on June 30, 2017; Senate Bill 649 extends them by five years, through June 30, 2022.
The programs assist small business and residential owners of underground storage tanks with grants ranging from $2,500 to $4,000 for environmental remediation, as well as fund necessary cleanup of underground storage tank releases that must be undertaken by DEP.
Senate Bill 649 also seeks to allow DEP to request full reimbursement from the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board for operating costs of its storage tank program—including costs of inspections and enforcement—for over 40,000 registered tanks at 13,000 facilities throughout Pennsylvania.
The bill would authorize the transfer of an additional $4 million annually from the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund to pay for DEP’s administrative costs.
The bill is now on the Senate Calendar for action.
To learn more about storage tank regulation, visit DEP’s Storage Tanks webpage.  (Click Here for more background on the Act.)

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