HCS SS SCS SB 577 -- HAZARDOUS WASTE

This bill contains provisions that relate to several aspects of hazardous waste management.

DRY CLEANING SOLVENTS

The bill establishes a Dry Cleaning Solvent Environmental Response Trust Fund to provide moneys for the investigation, assessment, and remediation of solvent releases from dry cleaning facilities. The fund is administered by the Hazardous Waste Management Commission. Payments from the fund may be made after July 1, 2002, and are capped at a total of $1 million per site. Payments may also not exceed 25% of the fund balance per site during any fiscal year, and there is a $25,000 deductible for active facilities and abandoned sites. Abandoned sites must be documented by or reported to the Department of Natural Resources by July 1, 2004, to be eligible for funding. Moneys from the fund may not be used at active facilities if the solvent release was caused by illegal operating practices, if the facility operator obstructs actions by the department, or if the operator is in arrears for payments to the fund. Fund moneys may also not be used to compensate third parties for damages.

Operators of active facilities must register with the department and pay an annual registration surcharge to the fund. The surcharge is set at $500 for small facilities; $1,000 for medium facilities; and $1,500 for large facilities. Sellers of dry cleaning solvents must pay a solvent surcharge of $8 per gallon for chlorinated solvents and 40 cents per gallon for non- chlorinated solvents, collected quarterly. All surcharges are subject to a late fee of 15% plus 10% per annum interest on unpaid balances. If the unobligated balance of the fund exceeds $5 million, the facility registration and solvent surcharges are not collected until the fund balance falls below $2 million.

The bill also requires the Hazardous Waste Management Commission to establish, by July 1, 2002, standards for facility closure procedures and appropriate completion requirements for corrective actions in response to a solvent release.

Violators of any dry cleaning provisions of the bill are subject to civil penalties of up to $500 per violation, payable to the fund. The dry cleaning provisions of the bill terminate on August 28, 2007.

HAZARDOUS WASTE FEES

The bill restructures hazardous waste generator fees and category taxes and extends their sunset date from January 1, 2004, to January 1, 2005.

The bill establishes an annual hazardous waste generator registration fee of $100, to be deposited in the Hazardous Waste Fund. The annual revenue target of $1.5 million for category taxes is replaced with a calculation formula. The category tax cap on waste placed in a disposal facility or stored 180 days or more on site is increased from $50,000 to $80,000; and the cap on other waste is increased from $25,000 to $40,000. The company cap is also increased from $50,000 to $80,000; and a minimum fee of $50 per year is established for all generators subject to category taxes. The current category tax exemption for out-of-state fuel blenders is repealed. Category taxes on blended fuels are assessed and collected at the site where the fuel is burned and are subject to a cap of $80,000. All category tax caps and rates may be adjusted annually by no more than 2.55% by the Hazardous Waste Management Commission.

Of the revenue collected from category taxes and the current hazardous waste generator and land disposal fees, 60% is deposited in the Hazardous Waste Remedial Fund; and 40% is deposited in the Hazardous Waste Fund. The Department of Natural Resources will request annually an appropriation of at least $1 million of general revenue for deposit in the Hazardous Waste Remedial Fund.

The current $100 per vehicle hazardous waste transporter fee is replaced with an annual application fee and a use fee based upon vehicle weight, mileage, or both. These fees are set to generate a total of $600,000 per year. Railroads transporting hazardous substances pay an annual transporter fee of $350. Revenues from transporter fees are deposited in the Hazardous Waste Fund.

Anyone constructing, altering, or operating a resource recovery facility must apply for certification from the department and pay a fee of no more than $500 for facilities only recovering on-site waste or a fee of no more than $1,000 for facilities recovering off-site waste. Revenue from these fees is deposited in the Hazardous Waste Fund.

Expenditures for hazardous substance emergency responses are made from the Hazardous Waste Fund rather than the Hazardous Waste Remedial Fund. The department is authorized to include overhead costs for emergency responses when determining reimbursement required for emergency response service. Expenditures for voluntary cleanup oversight are made from the Hazardous Waste Remedial Fund rather than the Hazardous Waste Fund. The department is also authorized to oversee and recover costs for corrective actions at regulated facilities.

LEAD ABATEMENT

The bill authorizes the Department of Health to develop a plan for providing loans or grants to owners of dwellings or child-occupied facilities for lead abatement projects. The department will accept applications from cities, counties, and other local entities to implement projects that comply with pertinent statutes and rules. Funding will be provided from a state fund financed by appropriations, loan repayments, interest, gifts, bequests, donations, and other public or private funds.