The Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) program was initiated in 1988 as one of many state programs across the country to reimburse owners and operators of leaking petroleum storage tanks for the costs of environmental cleanup. As of December 2011, PECFA has provided over $1.5 billion dollars to address contamination at nearly 16,000 petroleum sites.
As part of Wisconsin’s 2013-2015 state budget, the financial and technical oversight portions of the PECFA program previously housed with the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) have transferred to the Remediation and Redevelopment Program at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The petroleum storage tank registration program and the tank registry database have also been transferred to another state agency. Those programs will be managed at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as part of the Weights and Measures program.
The transfer of the PECFA program is expected to result in benefits to both taxpayers and PECFA customers. The state will realize just over $1 million in program savings during the two-year budget cycle. The transfer consolidates similar petroleum cleanup programs under one state agency, thus eliminating duplication of services. The goal is to have customer service improve because all PECFA-related issues can be addressed in a unified, consistent manner.
What Happens Next?
DNR’s goal is to ensure that the transition of staff and services proceeds as smoothly as possible without disruption for PECFA customers.
For the time being, all current PECFA customers will keep the same project manager, who can be reached with the existing contact information, until approximately mid-July. When contact information for those people changes, that information will be shared through the RR Report and online at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Brownfields/pecfa.html. RR Report is the Remediation and Redevelopment program’s bi-monthly newsletter of current news regarding environmental cleanups and funding opportunities.
Another change PECFA customers will notice is that the low- and medium-priority sites previously under DSPS jurisdiction will now be subject to DNR closure fees. Further, DNR offers a number of liability and financial incentives that may be of interest to PECFA customers, especially those buying, leasing and selling property.
Questions about the transfer can be sent to DNRPECFAcomments@wisconsin.gov, or call Tim Panzer at 608-267-2465.