Most states in the U.S. have created State Cleanup Funds (Funds) to help pay for the remediation of sites contaminated by leaking underground storage tanks (UST’s). These Funds were established as a direct result of 1984 amendments made to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which essentially required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a comprehensive regulatory program for UST’s (both new and old) to: Prevent and detect leaks, cleanup leaks, and demonstrate financial responsibility for cleaning up leaks and compensating third parties for resulting damages.
While Congress created a federal Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund in 1986 to provide money in order to accomplish these goals, individual states have created Cleanup Funds (also known as Assurance Funds) to help pay for existing contaminated sites and to enable tank owners to comply with federal financial responsibility requirements for UST’s. Generally speaking, these State Cleanup Funds act as reimbursement mechanisms, paying owners and operators for costs incurred to remediate releases from UST’s (and AST’s in some cases).
While many small businesses continue to rely on these State Cleanup Funds as their primary means for complying with the financial responsibility requirements to operate tanks, some states have made the decision to require owners and operators to use other mechanisms to comply, such as Commercial Pollution Liability Insurance or other products where available. The availability of these other insurance products and the willingness of private insurers to cover releases after a State Cleanup Fund sunsets it’s Fund varies. Therefore, State Cleanup Funds continue to play a vital role in many states’ UST regulatory programs.
The State Programs pages we have listed are intended to provide some very basic information about each State Cleanup Fund including the various links to each State Cleanup Fund’s website where you can obtain even more information. As these programs tend to have many details, Pinnacle’s experience over many years can help you navigate the complex regulatory environment in which these programs operate.