Last Friday the Washington Post ran an article with a detailed list of program cuts to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Needless to say I was surprised to see the nation’s underground storage tank (UST) program on the chopping block.
As someone who’s been been the UST industry three decades spending my career preventing leaking UST systems from polluting drinking water systems, the cuts I see are deep enough to render the UST program essentially non-functioning.
Here is the full article.
New EPA documents reveal even deeper proposed cuts to staff and programs
And here is the 64-page of program cuts. See pages 16-18 about the UST items.
It’s a lot of budget lingo to wade through so I contacted Carolyn Hoskinson, head of the nation’s UST regulatory program at EPA Headquarters and asked what this means in real terms. According to her:
1.States would not receive pollution prevention funding
- No funding for state staff to offer technical assistance or regulatory support.
- No funding for state staff to do compliance checks and inspections.
2. Significant reduction in cleanup funding
- Significant reduction of funds for leaking UST sites in Indian Country.
- Significant reduction of funds for leaking UST sites to states.
- Elimination of staff who oversee cleanup projects.
3. All but eliminate EPA HQ policy people
- No more research.
- No more policy interpretation.
- No conferences, association meetings, newsletters, peer matches.
- No one directing national policy on pollution prevention.
- Reduced EPA staff to run compliance and cleanup in Indian Country.
Those who know this industry well know that the UST program is considered one of the most streamlined and effective environmental programs today. The UST program is based on 30 years worth of collaborative effort between Federal, state, tribal and local governments, tank testers, manufacturers, and technicians and of course UST owners and operators. It’s a great program, run well, with huge benefits to every single American.
So here is what I’m asking all my friends, colleagues, associates and clients:
If you believe the UST program has value in protecting human health and the environment, I am asking you to contact your local government representatives and ask they support not cutting this important program.
Also I’m attaching a 1984 segment of 60 Minutes so folks can know what the United States was like before we had a UST program.
Thanks in advance for your support,
Keeping your drinking water clean since 1987