Recent USTCF Developments

There’s always a constant stream of new and ever-changing requirements and regulations associated with the Cleanup Fund. In late 2008, the Fund financially collapsed due to the under-collection of taxes to fund the USTCF and the demand on reimbursement exceeding the amount of money available. This resulted in payment of reimbursement requests submitted in 2009 to be delayed in excess of one year. Obviously, this had a tremendous impact on claimant’s ability to pay their consultants and therefore many consulting firms could no longer honor paid-when-paid agreements. For many small UST owners, this left them without a consultant to represent their interest and to keep them in compliance with the regulatory agencies and with USTCF requirements. After some restructuring and adopting new internal processes during 2009 and 2010, the Fund has now recovered to a level that reimbursement money is once again being processed in a timely manner.

In an effort to keep their current and future financial system in balance, the Fund is integrating significant new business models; one of which is to allocate a spend amount for each site for the coming 2011/2012 fiscal year. This required each claimant (or representative) to submit to the USTCF by April 7, 2011 an estimated budget for work expected to be performed in the next 12 months. Upon the USTCF’s acceptance of this budget, it will then be the responsibility of each claimant, with assistance from their consultant, to implement the necessary work within budget, as well as maintain compliance with the governing agency. It is important to note that the USTCF has stated that funds allocated to a site may not be sufficient to address all of the regulatory issues that the oversight agency is requiring. Therefore, it is imperative to work closely with both the USTCF and the lead regulatory agency to maximize progress on the site while assuring that funds can be fully recovered. Stratus has worked closely with our internal contacts at the Fund throughout the last few years and regularly attends community presentations, outreach and Fund workshops to keep ourselves and our clients abreast and apprised of the all latest Fund changes and requirements.