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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online


Title 10 : Conservation and Development



(Cite as: 10 V.S.A. § 1283)
  • § 1283. Contingency fund

    (a) The Environmental Contingency Fund is established within the control of the Secretary. Subject to the limitations contained in subsection (b) of this section, disbursements from the Fund may be made by the Secretary to undertake actions that the Secretary considers necessary to investigate or mitigate, or both, the effects of hazardous material releases to the environment.

    (b) Disbursements under this subsection may be made for emergency purposes or to respond to other than emergency situations; provided, however, that disbursements in response to an individual situation that is not an emergency situation shall not exceed $350,000.00 for a response to a release of a hazardous material, unless the Secretary has received the approval of the General Assembly, or the Joint Fiscal Committee, in case the General Assembly is not in session. Furthermore, the balance in the Fund shall not be drawn below the amount of $100,000.00, except in emergency situations. If the balance of the Fund becomes insufficient to allow a proper response to one or more emergencies that have occurred, the Secretary shall appear before the Emergency Board, as soon as possible, and shall request that necessary funds be provided. Within these limitations, disbursements from the Fund may be made:

    (1) to initiate spill control procedures, removal actions, and remedial actions to clean up spills of hazardous materials where the discharging party is unknown, cannot be contacted, is unwilling to take action, or does not take timely action that the Secretary considers necessary to mitigate the effects of the spill;

    (2) to investigate an actual or threatened release to the environment of any pollutant or contaminant that may present an imminent and substantial danger to the public health and welfare or to the environment. The Secretary may use this Fund for those investigations necessary to:

    (A) determine the magnitude and extent of the existing and potential public exposure and risk and environmental damage;

    (B) determine appropriate remedial action to prevent or minimize the impact of such releases; or

    (C) to prescribe other environmentally sound measures to protect the long-range public health and welfare or to ensure environmental protection, or to prescribe additional investigations to determine same;

    (3) to take appropriate removal action to prevent or minimize the immediate impact of such releases to the public health and the environment;

    (4) to take appropriate remedial action;

    (5) to reimburse private persons or municipalities for expenditures made to provide alternative water supplies or to take other emergency measures deemed necessary by the Secretary, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, to protect the public health from hazardous material. Reimbursement under this subdivision shall be pursuant to criteria adopted by rule of the Secretary and by rule of the Commissioner establishing, among other provisions, requirements that alternative sources of reimbursement are pursued in a diligent manner;

    (6) to pay administrative and field supervision costs incurred by the Secretary or by a municipality at the direction of the Secretary in carrying out the provisions of this subchapter. Annual disbursements, for these costs, to the Department of Environmental Conservation under this subdivision shall not exceed 2.5 percent of annual revenues;

    (7) to pay costs of management oversight provided by the State for investigation and cleanup efforts conducted by voluntary responsible parties;

    (8) to pay costs of emergency response operations and equipment in the spill response program;

    (9) to pay costs of required capital contributions and operation and maintenance when the remedial or response action was taken pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq.;

    (10) to pay the costs of oversight or conducting assessment of a natural resource damaged by the release of a hazardous material and being assessed for damages pursuant to section 6615d of this title; or

    (11) to pay the costs of oversight or conducting restoration or rehabilitation to a natural resource damaged by the release of a hazardous material and being restored or rehabilitated pursuant to section 6615d of this title.

    (c) The Secretary may bring an action under this section or other available State and federal laws to enforce the obligation to repay the Fund. To the extent compatible with the urgency of the situation, the Secretary shall provide an opportunity for the responsible party or parties to undertake the investigations, removal, and remedial actions under the direction of the Secretary.

    (d), (e) [Repealed.]

    (f) Except as provided in subsection 6618(a) of this title, revenues under the hazardous waste tax established under 32 V.S.A. chapter 237 shall be deposited in the Environmental Contingency Fund. The Secretary may reimburse the Fund with funds received from the U.S. Pollution Prevention Revolving Fund authorized by subsection (k) of section 311 of Public Law 92-500, as amended, codified in 1979 as 33 U.S.C. § 1321(k). Monies may be accepted by the Secretary under written agreements with responsible parties for release site cleanup to provide administrative, technical, and management oversight.

    (g) For purposes of this section:

    (1) “Emergency” means any release or threatened release of hazardous materials that causes or may cause an immediate and significant risk of harm to human life, health, or to the environment.

    (2)(A) “Hazardous material” means all petroleum and toxic, corrosive, or other chemicals and related sludge included in any of the following:

    (i) any substance defined in section 101(14) of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980;

    (ii) petroleum, including crude oil or any fraction thereof; or

    (iii) hazardous waste, as determined under subdivision 6602(4) of this title.

    (B) “Hazardous material” does not include herbicides and pesticides when applied in a manner consistent with good practice conducted in conformity with federal, State, and local laws and regulations and according to manufacturers’ instructions. Nothing in this subdivision shall affect the authority granted and the limitations imposed by section 6608a of this title.

    (3) “Release” means any intentional or unintentional action or omission resulting in the spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, dumping, or disposing of hazardous materials into the surface or groundwaters, or onto the lands in the State, or into waters outside the jurisdiction of the State when damage may result to the public health, lands, waters, or natural resources within the jurisdiction of the State. “Release” also means the intentional or unintentional action or omission resulting in the spilling, leaking, emission, or disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from building materials in public schools and approved and recognized independent schools, as those terms are defined in 16 V.S.A. § 11, that were constructed or renovated before 1980.

    (4) “Remedial action” means those actions consistent with a permanent remedy taken instead of or in addition to removal actions in the event of the improper release or threat of release of a hazardous material into the environment, to prevent or minimize the release of hazardous materials so that they do not migrate or cause substantial danger to present or future public health or welfare or the environment.

    (5) “Removal action” means the cleanup or removal of released hazardous materials from the environment and such other actions as may be necessary to prevent, minimize, or mitigate damage to the public health or welfare or to the environment that may result from the improper release or threat of release of hazardous materials.

    (h) Receipts from the Redevelopment of Contaminated Properties Program, established under section 6615a of this title, shall be deposited into a separate account of the Fund, named the redevelopment of contaminated properties account. (Added 1979, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. May 6, 1980; amended 1981, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 25; 1983, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.); 1985, No. 70, §§ 1, 2, eff. May 20, 1985; 1987, No. 282 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. Oct. 1, 1988; 1991, No. 78, § 3; 1991, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1995, No. 44, § 4, eff. April 20, 1995; 1997, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 35; 2005, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 4; 2013, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 88; 2015, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. June 1, 2016; 2019, No. 72, § E.711.2; 2021, No. 74, §§ E.709, E.709.2; 2021, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § E.709, eff. July 1, 2021.)