New Law to Increase UST Regulatory Obligations

January 16, 2006
by MEREDITH DuBARRY HUSTON
Client Alert Newsletter Forecast 2006

The Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005, part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 109-58) signed into law on August 8, 2005, will have a significant impact on underground storage tank ("UST") owners and operators in 2006 and beyond. Under the act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and the states must make changes to their existing UST regulatory programs to include new inspection, training, and delivery requirements. The act provides that states must inspect by August 2007 every previously uninspected UST, inspect every UST within their jurisdiction once every three years thereafter, and publicly report the compliance status of USTs. Fuel deliveries at non-compliant UST facilities may be prohibited. Additionally, states must either mandate secondary containment for new or replaced USTs or require equipment manufacturers and installers to demonstrate financial responsibility to cover remediation of releases caused by their manufacture or installation. Guidelines for inspection, delivery prohibition, and secondary containment requirements are due from EPA's Office of Underground Storage Tanks in August 2006. The act also requires that every owner, operator, or employee responsible for a UST receive appropriate training. A guideline for UST owner-operator training is due in August 2007. Finally, the act authorizes the appropriation of $605 million annually for five years to implement the compliance and corrective action reforms, and expands eligible uses of the Leaking Underground Storage Tank ("LUST") Trust Fund.