Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/22/1994 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 513 - GRANTS/LOANS FOR STORAGE TANK OWNERS                                
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY opened HB 513, sponsored by the House Labor &                 
  Commerce Committee, for discussion.                                          
  Number 272                                                                   
  ASSISTANTS, supported HB 513.  He stated the Board of                        
  Storage Tank Assistants is an appeal board that works with                   
  the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to                        
  administer the storage tank assistance fund.  This program                   
  issues grants and loans to regulated underground storage                     
  tank owners throughout the state to help them offset the                     
  high cost of environmental compliance.                                       
  MR. BARNETT outlined the sections of HB 513.  Section 1                      
  clarifies the authority of the board to hear all eligibility                 
  appeals.  Existing statute allows the board to hear appeals                  
  on eligible costs, but the board has about 150 applicants                    
  that have been determined completely ineligible.  He noted                   
  several of these applicants feel they were determined                        
  ineligible based on an interpretive decision by DEC, based                   
  on a policy which may be inconsistent with the original                      
  intent of the program.  He stated these owners would like a                  
  sort of forum, where their concerns could be heard.                          
  MR. BARNETT stated Section 2 of HB 513, corrects an                          
  oversight in the original bill.  The upgrade in closure                      
  program under current law does not have a sunset date.                       
  Section 2 would provide a sunset clause to the storage tank                  
  assistance fund closure and upgrade application period.  The                 
  sunset would be consistent with the cleanup application                      
  MR. BARNETT stated Section 3 of HB 513, allows upgrade in                    
  closure applicants still waiting to be funded, to continue                   
  to be eligible for financial assistance for cleanup, after                   
  the cleanup deadline passes.  He noted they had expected to                  
  fund all of the closure and upgrades several years ago;                      
  however, at this time over 400 applicants exist that will                    
  not discover petroleum contamination until after the cleanup                 
  application sunsets.  Applicants will be eligible for                        
  cleanup as long as they are already on the list.                             
  Number 347                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked what would happen if HB 513 did not                     
  take effect until October 1, 1994.                                           
  MR. BARNETT answered the date was originally proposed to be                  
  consistent with current law, July 1, 1994.  He stated the                    
  board would support any amendments to allow for the                          
  applicants to be notified.                                                   
  Number 355                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY noted a two-thirds vote would be necessary to                 
  establish an effective date.                                                 
  Number 358                                                                   
  MR. BARNETT clarified he was referring to Section 2, where                   
  the application for assistance must be submitted before July                 
  1, 1994.                                                                     
  Number 362                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked how HB 513 clarifies the relationship                   
  between the board and the DEC.                                               
  MR. BARNETT answered the board has applicants who have been                  
  denied any financial assistance whatsoever.  For example,                    
  failure to report a release when, in fact, they had already                  
  bought a facility that was already contaminated.  Existing                   
  statute includes language which refers to being in                           
  compliance with existing laws.  There is also language which                 
  provides for amnesty over a six month period once the                        
  applicant has registered their facility.  He emphasized DEC                  
  sometimes takes a very strict interpretive view of the                       
  statutes and regulations.  He gave an example of an                          
  applicant who, after noncompliance, came into compliance                     
  prior to the effective date of the original bill, but was                    
  still termed ineligible forever by the DEC.  He termed the                   
  DEC interpretation as "once a criminal, always a criminal."                  
  He felt the board should be able to help mediate the dispute                 
  so the objective of cleaning up the sights can be met.  The                  
  new section clarifies the requirements for a forum would be                  
  eligibility in general, not just costs.                                      
  Number 414                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY clarified there was currently no appeal for a                 
  DEC decision and the new section would provide for one.                      
  MR. BARNETT affirmed CHAIRMAN VEZEY.                                         
  Number 419                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if a committee member would move to                     
  amend HB 513 whereas the date in Section 2 be amended from                   
  "July 1, 1994" to "December 31, 1994."                                       
  Number 428                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG so moved.                                              
  Number 433                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER questioned if the change would                          
  significantly impact the number of people who have filed                     
  applications or impact the business of the board.                            
  MR. BARNETT answered the applicants were originally                          
  considered when the program began.  They had expected to                     
  have already funded them, but with the limitations in                        
  funding over the past three years they had fallen behind.                    
  The change would not provide impact that was not already                     
  considered from the original legislation.                                    
  Number 442                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked the committee secretary to call the                     
  roll the amendment to HB 513.                                                
                 G. DAVIS, SANDERS, OLBERG                                     
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY announced the amendment to HB 513 was                         
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if the dates would have to be adjusted                  
  in Section 3.                                                                
  Number 450                                                                   
  MR. BARNETT replied Section 3(a)(1) would have to be                         
  Number 453                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY inquired about the date in Section 3,                         
  subsection 2.                                                                
  Number 454                                                                   
  MR. BARNETT responded Section 3, subsection 2, refers to a                   
  date currently in statute and is also consistent with the                    
  federal Environmental Protection Agency requirement.  He                     
  stated it should not be changed.                                             
  Number 457                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG had a motion                   
  to change Section 3, line 9, from "July 1, 1994" to                          
  "December 31, 1994."                                                         
  Number 458                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG so moved.                                              
  Number 463                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked the committee secretary to call the                     
                 G. DAVIS, SANDERS, OLBERG                                     
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY announced the second amendment to HB 513 had                  
  been adopted.                                                                
  Number 466                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS moved to adopt the committee                         
  substitute for HB 513 reflecting the amendments made by the                  
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY announced, hearing no opposition, the                         
  committee substitute for HB 513 had been adopted.                            
  Number 485                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS moved to pass CSHB 513 out of                        
  committee with individual recommendations and accompanying                   
  fiscal notes.                                                                
  Number 490                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked the committee secretary to call the                     
                 G. DAVIS, SANDERS, OLBERG.                                    
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY announced CSHB 513 had passed from the House                  
  State Affairs Committee.                                                     
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY, having no more business before the                           
  committee, adjourned the meeting at 8:30 a.m.                                

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