KRC has reviewed the proposed amendment, and does not oppose the technical amendments, nor the change from the use of ?unobligated balance to cash balance. KRC has two concerns, however:
1. The justification for the change in the method of determining the available balance was to allow the Fund to continue to incur obligations during the final months of FY 05. The change, however, is made not only by way of emergency regulation, which would be of temporary effect since it expires of its own volition after a period of time, but by replacement permanent regulation. If the change is intended to be permanent, the explanation and fiscal analysis should reflect the basis for making the change in accounting method permanent, and any long-term effect on the ability to incur obligations and to timely pay them once incurred as the requests for reimbursement are presented.
2. KRC is concerned that, under current law, the time period for registering tanks in order to be eligible for reimbursement for removal and remedial responses to contamination, will close in summer 2006 while there are yet eligible tanks that have not been registered.
Those who have remained in the business and know of the availability of this program have largely availed themselves of the opportunity for reimbursement for many of the expenses associated with tank removal and site reclamation. Yet despite the existence of the program, there are many who are less knowledgeable, and ongoing demand at a cost of approximately $25 million each year attests to the sites yet remaining to be abated. Absent state action to publicize the availability of the program and necessity for registration, KRC is concerned that the door will close on those sites without action.
KRC urges the agency to publicize the availability of the fund and the impending deadline for registering tanks, in order to bring out the remainder of the tanks and to get them registered. Such a registration drive conducted in Summer-Fall of 2005 would identify the scope of the remaining demand on the fund and enable the General Assembly to know what fund needs will be, so that the program eligibility could be closed with a higher level of comfort that sites will not remain unreported and unremediated, and the funds collected can be either permanently diverted to other uses by the legislature or the fee eliminated.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of these concerns.