2016 closed out with some good news for underground storage tank (UST) owners in Michigan. On December 21, 2016, Governor Snyder signed House Bill 5599 into law (PA 380 of 2016), amending UST corrective action funding provisions of Part 215 of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), 1994 PA 451, as amended. The most significant impact of this amendment is two-fold:
- the lowering of deductibles (from $50,000 to $10,000 per claim for owners/operators of eight or more USTs, and from $50,000 to $2,000 per claim for UST owners/operators of seven or fewer USTs). Further, these lower deductible amounts will be applied retroactively.
- the elimination of the deductible buy-down option for owners/operators of seven or fewer USTs. Before this amendment, owners/operators of seven or fewer USTs had the option to pay $500 per UST per year to reduce the claim deductible from $50,000 to $15,000. This recent amendment reduces the deductible for this category of small UST owners/operators from $50,000 to $2,000 with no buy-down.
Although the two points discussed above were the big headlines regarding HB 5599’s passage into law, there were some additional changes and clarifications to Part 215 of NREPA:
- The claims limit is $1,000,000 per release.
- The claim period aggregate limit is $1,000,000 for 1-100 USTs and $2,000,000 for more than 100 USTs.
- Costs arising from removing, replacing or recycling the UST are not covered, including tank contents.
- The following exclusions were added:
- Costs that have been or will be submitted to or that have been paid pursuant to an insurance policy or policies.
- Costs arising from corrective actions performed in excess of the corrective actions required to obtain a restricted closure based on then current land use.
- Costs incurred after the closure date of the release or releases for which the claim was filed except for costs for monitoring well abandonment or remediation system decommissioning, or both, performed within one year of the closure date.
- The time period in which MUSTA must make a payment for an approved claim was extended from 30 days to 45 days.
For a direct link to House Bill 5599, click here: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(grch44lmhauh0zj133kabdba))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=2016-HB-5599
For a direct link to the MUSTA web page, click here: http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3311_4109_9977_73545—,00.html