Earlier last week, PMAA sent a joint letter to House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) urging them to reject President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request of $47 million for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund Program because the funding amount is inadequate. In previous years, Congress has appropriated between $90 – $100 million each year, an amount PMAA would like Congress to continue to appropriate.
In the 1980s, Congress and the EPA began to address the problem of UST releases by creating the LUST Trust Fund financed by a federal one-tenth cent ($0.001) per gallon tax on motor fuels. Petroleum marketers have supported the LUST fund and have paid $3.8 billion in LUST taxes since its inception. The fund is vital to the cleanup of UST leaks, which pose a serious threat to the environment and public health.
EPA provides almost 90 percent of its LUST money directly to states, territories, and tribes to implement UST cleanup and prevention programs. Unfortunately, the President’s proposed FY 2018 budget calls for cutting the EPA’s LUST fund program in half and returning the responsibility for funding state UST programs back to state and local governments. This would negatively impact state UST program authorities because states would not receive pollution prevention funding, funding for UST cleanup would be significantly reduced and technical support for states would be eliminated.
PMAA, along with NACS, NATSO and SIGMA, urged lawmakers to reject any efforts to significantly reduce the LUST Fund Program and continue to fund the program at previous fiscal year levels.