Tank Bill Moves Forward

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Tank Bill Moves Forward

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A bill geared at bringing more than 200,000 underground storage tanks into compliance could reach the Senate floor in the next week or so.

The Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2001, which tackles deficiencies in the federal statute that required the petroleum industry to sink more than $2 billion in new equipment from 1988 to 1998, is expected to move out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee within the next several days, said Tom Osborne, communications director at the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.

"We support the bill overall," Osborne told CSNews Online. "We know there are a bunch of amendments being proposed to it. We?re analyzing them right now."

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Lincoln Chafee (I-R.I.), responds to a report last year by the nonpartisan General Accounting Office that found 11 percent of the regulated tanks had not undergone proper upgrades.

The Chafee bill has won support from the convenience store and petroleum marketing groups. It proposes to increase state funding for cleanup of contaminated sites, requires governments on all levels to develop cleanup strategies of publicly-owned or run tanks, and allots a one-time $200 million parachute to attack MTBE contamination.

ABOVE: Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee.