21J
Ask Your State Representative to Fund the 21J/UST Program by Supporting Section 17 of the "Outside Section" of the State Budget   
 
The Massachusetts House of Representatives is expected to release its version of the FY 19 state budget on Wednesday, April 11 with debate in the House beginning on April 23, 2018. The LSPA Legislation Committee has been tasked with proactively monitoring proposed budgets and legislation for issues of interest to our membership.
 
One item of particular interest in this proposed budget, under Section 17 of the "Outside Section", is the re-establishment of a dedicated UST Fund. To fund it, the first $30 million of the UST Delivery Fee deposits each fiscal year would be deposited into this account to pay for reimbursement claims.  Currently, all of the UST Delivery Fees (approx. $78 million per year) are deposited into the Commonwealth Transportation Fund (CTF). Under the proposed language, at the end of the fiscal year, whatever funds are not used for the 21J Fund would revert to the CTF. Then beginning on July 1st of the subsequent fiscal year, up to $30 million in fees would again go into the UST Fund, and so on.
 
It is the opinion of the LSPA that re-establishing the UST Fund is a huge step forward in ensuring a reliable source of funding and sustainability for the program. As you may already know, the budget language is widely supported by industry groups, specifically the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association (NECSEMA) and New England Service Station and Auto Repair Association (NESSARA).
 
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
 
At this point in the budget debate, we hope to inform and gain the support of State Representatives during the budgeting process regarding the environmental, public health, and economic importance of the 21J/UST Program -which is often overlooked and sometimes misunderstood. It is our hope that the proposed Section 17 language will carry over into the final state budget.
 
The LSPA encourages people to email or call their State Representatives and urge them to support Section 17 of the budget "Outside Section". At this point, any calls or emails should be directed to State Representatives, not State Senators, because their budget process occurs before the State Senate's. The time is now.
 
Find your State Representative hereSuggested email language is here
 
Thank you in advance for taking action. We can make an impact!
 
Co-Chairs of the LSPA Legislative Committee:
 
Kevin Beaulieu, LSPCommonsense Environmental 
 
Spence Smith, LSP, CH2M Jacobs 
Last week, the Massachusetts State Senate was able to finish its list of budget veto overrides. We are happy to report that the 21J Fund line item was approved!

This Senate override, along with the earlier override by the House of Representatives, added $3 million to the perpetually under-funded 21J Fund for underground storage tank remediation reimbursements. This brings the total FY '18 21J funding to $5.5 million. While this amount will still leave the 21J Fund lacking, it is closer to meetings its backlog of claims with this $5.5 million.
 
The LSPA thanks you for your action on this legislation. We greatly appreciate all of you who reached out to your State Senators. You made an impact!
In the past few months, the 21J Board has issued two new policies that provide clarification and guidance on collecting and submitting documentation for the reimbursement of soil excavation and disposal as part of an MCP Response Action.   

This action is taken as a result of the fact that, over the past year, the majority of claims involving soil disposal are likely to be initially denied, and then being heard in "conference" i.e. before a panel of 21J Board members for further consideration of the validity of the claims and charges.
 
These two newest 21J Fund policies can be found here.
The specific documents are:
  • Policy For Reimbursement Of Petroleum Product "Impacted" Soil On April 26, 2017, the 21J Board revised its policy on the reimbursement of the disposal of "contaminated" soil to include a portion of the related "impacted" soil of up to 25% of the eligible "contaminated" soil tonnage disposed offsite.   
When you are contemplating soil excavation at a 21J reimbursable Site, please refer to this guidance in order to maximize cost recovery.
 
Thank you,
 
Michael A. Penzo, PG, CPG, LSP
LSP Association President
The LSPA is requesting that you outreach to your state representative to urge his/her support of House Amendment #603 to the proposed FY 2018 state budget (H. 3600). House Amendment #603 would increase the state appropriation to the 21J Fund from $6 million to $10 million. The LSPA supports this amendment and we are told to expect a vote on it as early as this coming Monday, April 24th.
 
The amendment was sponsored jointly by Rep. Kafka (D-Sharon) and Rep. Brad Jones (R-North Reading), and they are currently the only sponsors. More bill sponsors may provide the support needed to get this passed by the House Ways and Means Committee. 
 
The 21J Fund is seriously underfunded annually; an approximately $6 million deficit in unpaid claims (claims processed and approved but unable to be paid) is projected for the end of FY 2017. For more background information, read this article from the most recent LSPA newsletter.   
 
The time is now! The more voices the better. Please email or call your state representative to urge him/her to support this amendment. Four simple points will do: 
  • Please sign on as a co-sponsor to House Amendment 603 and please speak to House leadership in support of the amendment.
  • The Fund's primary purpose is to ensure the cleanup of drinking water, groundwater, and soils following a spill or leak of petroleum.
  • Without sufficient funding, the 21J Fund cannot pay its stakeholder group of claimants for their cleanup actions. Contractors, equipment suppliers and other vendors maintain an employment and sales workforce in the Commonwealth. This results in income, employment and sales tax for the Commonwealth.   
  • The majority of petroleum dispensing facilities are owned by home grown, family-owned petroleum marketing companies that have operated and evolved in their home state of Massachusetts for several decades - not by big oil companies.   
Feel free to contact Wendy Rundle, LSPA Executive Director at lspa.wendy@gmail.com with any questions or comments.

Thank you,
 
Michael A. Penzo, CPG, PG, LSP
LSPA President
 
Dot McGlincy, LSP, and Lauren Konetzny, LSP
Co-Chairs, LSPA Legislative Committee
 
An important funding mechanism for underground storage tank clean-ups in Massachusetts is in jeopardy and your assistance is needed.
 
The Massachusetts Underground Storage Tank (UST) Petroleum Product Cleanup Fund (commonly referred to as the 21J Fund) was created in 1991 to prevent the need for environmental cleanup actions through encouraging UST maintenance and compliance, and to expedite environmental cleanup actions by providing partial reimbursement to owners or operators of UST systems for costs, expenses and other obligations incurred as a result of releases of petroleum products from UST systems. 
 
Due to a current state budget deficit, the fund was reduced in 2017 and now, an approximate $6 million deficit in unpaid claims (claims processed and approved but unable to be paid) is projected for the end of FY 2017. To further compound this problem, the Governor's FY 2018 budget recommendation only includes $6 million for the 21J Fund. This would only be enough to fund the projected FY 2017 deficit.  
 
How You Can Help:  Please, reach out to your state senator and state representative to let them know the importance of providing adequate and predictable funding for the UST Cleanup Fund. You can identify your legislator using this link.
 
Click here to learn more.