Section 22-30D-5Alabama Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust Fund.
(a) There is hereby created the Alabama Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust Fund, hereinafter referred to as the "fund." The fund as so created shall be administered and used by the board as a drycleaning industry self-insurance program for the benefit of those persons electing to be covered by this chapter within the time(s) specified in accordance with the provision of this chapter and as a revolving fund for carrying out the purposes of this chapter. To the fund shall be credited all registration fees collected by the Department of Revenue, which monies shall be credited to the fund pursuant to this chapter and invested as permitted by law by the State Treasurer for the benefit of the fund. Charges against the fund shall be made in accordance with this chapter. Use of the fund and participation in any remedial program by an adjacent landowner is voluntary. Nothing in this chapter requires participation by an adjacent landowner. Participation by the adjacent landowner is not required for use of monies in the fund to investigate, assess, or remediate contamination on the real property of adjacent landowners; provided that the adjacent landowner shall first register the site with the board and the department. The fund shall not be used to pay any costs incurred by any owner or operator or wholesale distributor who shall elect not to be covered by this chapter within the time(s) specified by this chapter nor shall the fund be used to pay any costs incurred at any real property of any impacted party or adjacent landowner impacted by or adjacent to any such owner or operator or wholesale distributor.
(b) Whenever contamination or suspected contamination is reported to the board and the department, the board shall, in accordance with procedures to be established by the board, obligate monies available in the fund to provide for payment for costs incurred after May 24, 2000, by owners or operators, persons owning any abandoned drycleaning facility, wholesale distributors, impacted third parties, or adjacent landowners covered by this chapter, for each of the following:
(1) Investigation and assessment of contamination or suspected contamination.
(2) Remediation, if necessary, of contamination pursuant to a remediation plan, which may consist of clean-up of affected soil and water, except that nothing herein shall be construed to authorize the board to obligate funds for payment of costs which are not integral to remediation of contamination.
(c) The board shall establish procedures for submitting requests to the board for payments from the fund for the costs of investigation, assessment, and remediation and for procedures for certification of engineers or contractors and establishment and approval of qualifications and fee or rate schedules for such engineers or contractors. Every such owner or operator, person owning any abandoned drycleaning facility, wholesale distributor, impacted third party, or adjacent landowner covered by this chapter shall submit to the board a nonbinding budget estimate of the cost expected to be incurred at the site, and shall revise the budget estimate and advise the board whenever the owner or operator, person owning any abandoned drycleaning facility, wholesale distributor, impacted third party, or adjacent landowner has reason to believe the budget estimate is inaccurate.
(d) If the unobligated principal of the fund equals or exceeds eight million dollars ($8,000,000) on April 1 of any year, the registration fee imposed by Section 22-30D-6 shall not be collected on or after the next July 1 until April 1 of the following year. Thereafter, if the unobligated principal balance of the fund equals four million dollars ($4,000,000) or less, the registration fee imposed by Section 22-30D-6 shall again be collected on and after the next July 1.
(e) Not later than April 5 of each year, the board shall report the amount of the unobligated balance of the fund on April 1 of such year. The board shall notify the public and the Department of Revenue if the registration fee imposed by Section 22-30D-6 will be abated or be payable on the following July 1.
(f) The unobligated balance of the fund shall be invested by the State Treasurer, upon notification of the board, for the benefit of the fund.
(g) The fund shall be used for the purposes set forth in this chapter only and for no other governmental purpose, nor shall any portion hereof ever be appropriated to or be available to borrow from any branch of government; it being the intent of the Legislature that this fund and its increments shall remain intact and inviolate for the purposes set out in this chapter. Any interest or earnings on the fund shall be credited only to the fund.
(h) Nothing in this chapter shall establish or create any liability or responsibility on the part of the state to pay any costs of contamination from any source other than the fund created by this chapter, nor shall the state have any liability or responsibility to make payments for any such costs if the fund created herein is insufficient to do so. In the event the fund is insufficient to make the payments at the time the claims are filed, claims shall be paid in the order of filing or in terms of environmental needs as determined by the board and the department at such time as monies are paid into the fund.
(i) The fund shall be audited annually by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts.
(j) All information secured by the Department of Revenue pursuant to this chapter shall be confidential, as prescribed by Section 40-2A-10, except that the Department of Revenue may provide such information to the department or the board as necessary for the proper administration of the duties of the department and the board relative to the fund.
(Act 2000-740, p. 1624, §5.)