Financial responsibility for petroleum underground storage tanks
(1)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(a)Moneys in the petroleum storage tank fund, created pursuant to section 8-20.5-103, and referred to in this section as the “fund”, may be used by certain owners and operators of petroleum storage tanks to demonstrate their compliance with the financial responsibility requirements in federal regulations. Owners and operators not eligible for access to the fund shall be solely responsible for securing independent financial assistance, but may use any federally approved financial assurance mechanism identified in 40 CFR 280.94 through 280.103 to help fund the cost of complying with such requirements.
(b)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(I)After payment is made from the fund for remediation expenses, the owner or operator on whose behalf the payment was made shall pay to the fund the remediation amount or ten thousand dollars, whichever is less.
(II)The payment required pursuant to subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b) shall be waived if:
(A)The owner or operator discovers the contamination while upgrading tanks to meet the December 22, 1998, deadline for corrosion protection, spill and overfill prevention, or monthly monitoring;
(B)The upgrade is completed no later than December 22, 1997; and
(C)The annual throughput of petroleum products at the site does not exceed six hundred thousand gallons during the year preceding the discovery of contamination.
(c)After payment is made from the fund for personal injury or property damage settlement expenses, or a combination of both, the owner or operator on whose behalf the payment was made shall pay to the fund the aggregate settlement payment amount or twenty-five thousand dollars, whichever is less.
(d)Moneys in the fund shall not be used for any remediation activity at a location that is within a site identified by the national priorities list, or where a response action by this state has begun pursuant to the federal “Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980”.
(e)If an owner or operator cannot meet the financial requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection (1), another approved financial assurance mechanism must be identified for such owner or operator to remain in compliance with this section and to be allowed to continue operation of an underground petroleum storage tank.
(f)The director of the division of oil and public safety, in consultation with the petroleum storage tank committee established pursuant to section 8-20.5-104, may establish rules that allow the payment required by subsection (1)(b)(I) of this section to be based on a percentage that is less than one hundred percent of the remediation amount.
(2)The maximum amount of liability of the fund under this section shall be three million dollars aggregate during a state fiscal year for multiple occurrences involving tanks that are the responsibility of an individual owner or operator, but in no event shall the liability of the fund exceed two million dollars per occurrence. For purposes of this section, an “occurrence” means the period of time from identification through remediation of a leak, spill, or release of a petroleum product from an underground storage tank. In the event the cost of remediation or third-party claims exceeds the amount available to pay such costs, such costs and claims shall be paid on a pro rata basis as determined by the committee created in section 8-20.5-104. Any balance owed shall be paid as moneys become available in the fund. Any excess costs that are not paid by the fund or by the federal leaking underground storage tank trust fund shall be paid by and are the sole responsibility of the responsible owner or operator.
(3)Moneys in the fund shall be available to pay required cleanup costs and third-party liability payments with no deductibles for the following applicants who are deemed to bear no responsibility for the release:
(a)A current or former property owner who has never owned, operated, leased, or managed petroleum underground storage tanks at the property where the release occurred, provided such property was acquired on or before June 3, 1992, and in the case of a preexisting release, the property owner had no reason to know that a release had occurred prior to acquiring the property;
(b)When an orphan or abandoned petroleum underground storage tank is involved and the applicant is a current or former owner, operator, or property owner who has never operated the tank or tanks and had no reason to know that a release had occurred prior to acquiring the property;
(c)A current owner or operator of petroleum underground storage tanks if at the time the owner or operator acquired such tanks such owner or operator had no reason to know that a release had already occurred, if such owner or operator has operated the tanks in accordance with sections 8-20.5-202 and 8-20.5-302, and if the release was detected on or before December 22, 1998;
(d)Any mortgagee or holder of an evidence of debt secured by a deed of trust who, through foreclosure of the mortgage or deed of trust or through receipt of a deed to the property in lieu of foreclosure, acquires property on which an underground storage tank is located, and such mortgage or deed of trust is dated on or before January 1, 1993;
(B)Any mortgagee or holder of an evidence of debt as described in sub-subparagraph (A) of this subparagraph (I), who sells the property on which an underground storage tank is located in lieu of remediating such property and transfers the certificate of eligibility to the purchaser. Such purchaser may receive fund moneys pursuant to this subsection (3).
(II)The director of the division of oil and public safety shall promulgate rules necessary to implement this program.
(4)In lieu of seeking reimbursement directly from the fund, an owner, operator, or current property owner who bears no responsibility for the release, under the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, may request that the department perform the cleanup using funds from the petroleum storage tank fund without further proving eligibility for such use. In addition to any purpose provided for in section 8-20.5-103, moneys in the petroleum storage tank fund may be appropriated by the general assembly to the department for the purpose of providing for the cleanup authorized in this section.
(5)Whenever appropriate, to pay costs that exceed the maximum allowed to be paid from the fund under this section, the state shall seek funding from the federal leaking underground storage tank trust fund.
(6)Underground storage tanks containing petroleum or other regulated substances that are owned or operated by, or are on property owned or leased by, an Indian tribe or the federal government, or an agency or subcontractor performing services on behalf of the federal government shall be subject to federal financial responsibility regulations. Any financial responsibility requirements for damages caused by such tanks are not the responsibility of the fund unless the tanks are owned or operated by a person, other than the federal government or such agency or subcontractor, and located on property that is leased from or otherwise occupied pursuant to a permit or other agreement with the United States or any agency thereof other than the department of defense or the department of energy.
(7)Nothing in this article shall create any liability for the state of Colorado that exceeds the amount available in the fund.
(8)Subject to subsection (6) of this section, owners and operators of underground storage tanks that are on fee lands may use the fund to demonstrate compliance with the financial responsibility requirements in federal regulations if the owners and operators have registered such tanks pursuant to section 8-20.5-102.
Section 8-20.5-206 — Financial responsibility for petroleum underground storage tanks - rules,
https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-08.pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).