UST Trust Fund Rate Change sign now

We, residents of NC coastal counties and concerned citizens of North Carolina strongly feel that the Underground Storage Tank (UST) Trust Fund rate restructuring needs to be either a) Reversed or b) Structured in a fashion that is fair and reasonable with respect to coastal residents and the environment.

USTs installed prior to 1975 have an extremely high failure rate which allow dangerous toxins to flow into our groundwater systems. Prior to the UST Trust Fund rate change, homeowners could have their leaking UST removed with minimal financial burden. Under the new rates, most property owners will not be able to afford proper removal of the UST and will unfortunately, leave a leaking UST in place.

The end result of this change is that more USTs will remain in ground and continue to pollute our environment. We need the state of North Carolina to continue to provide homeowners a financially feasible and fair solution for removing USTs. We also need a solution that continues to promote and encourage actions that are best for our environment, which the new UST Trust Fund rates do NOT accomplish. Please see other concerns below.

Supporting rate change document can be found here:
http://www.box.net/shared/pv9a5jogde

1) The new UST Section Guidelines and the new Trust Fund Interim Reimbursement Rates discriminate against coastal county residents.
Trust Fund rates reimburse approximately $5000 dollars more to a non-coastal county resident than to a coastal county resident. This is approximately 30\% better coverage for non-coastal county residents. This reimbursement differential is for exactly the same scope of work in coastal and non-coastal counties. (Investigation and cleanup at incident sites should be based on site specific conditions not based on county lines.)

2) The new UST Section Guidelines and the new Trust Fund Interim Reimbursement Rates should not be applied retroactively to projects that were begun (i.e. tank removed) before March 1, 2007.
Citizens who started their project prior to this date, entered into a contract with their consultant based on the published Guidelines and Trust Fund Rates that were current at that time. Therefore, changing their scope of work (new Guidelines) and their reimbursement rate after they have begun contamination cleanup is unfair.

3) The Trust Fund Rates should be adequate to compensate qualified and competent consultants to continue conducting this type of cleanup work.
This is important work to protect public health and cleanup the environment. The Trust Fund rate changes may drive consultants out of business and will cost citizens thousands of dollars. The previous Guideline requirements were reasonable and Trust Fund rates were sufficient to compensate consultants for the required scope of work.

4) Trust Fund Rates need to keep up with rising prices, not go down by unfair rate cuts.
New State Guidelines now require more scope of work for a home heating oil tank incident while reimbursing less to the home owner. Trust Fund rate reductions over the past 10 years have forced most environmental companies away from assisting homeowners with oil tank removal and cleanups. Oil tank removal and contamination cleanup is becoming a more common and important practice during real estate transactions.

The UST Section should offer higher Trust Fund reimbursement rates to encourage oil tank clean-up particularly in the coastal counties where the impacts on groundwater can be more devastating to public health and the environment (i.e. potential future drinking water resources, irrigation water resources, coastal marine environments, etc.).

Thank you for your consideration this matter.

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Lee BridgesBy:
City LifeIn:
Petition target:
North Carolina UST Section and NC Senator Julia Boseman

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