Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another $50 million for underground fuel tanks


Published: Friday, August 25, 2006
Namao — The province has committed an additional $50 million dollars to pay small retail gas stations to excavate and decontaminate old underground fuel tanks in danger of leakage or already leaking.
The money will be added to the initial $60 million that helped 930 applicants, including 66 municipalities, remediate their brown sites, Minister of Municipal Affairs Rob Renner said Friday.
“The priority of the new program is to finish the work of the first,” he said.
It means more money will be made available to owners whose budgets for removal may have gone over the $100,000 the government made available to them in 2000, allowing an additional $50,000 to cover the costs and complete the work.
Renner expects the new money, allocated from last year’s surplus, will also encourage some 300 additional sites to dig up their old tanks.
Sites cannot be sold by law without remediation.
The cost of buying new tanks is the owner’s responsibility.
An estimated 600 inactive small retail sites will remain.
Brenner said more funding will be made available, but there are only so many Alberta contractors trained to decontaminate these sites, so remediation of all sites must be completed in stages.
The money will not be made available to bigger gas companies, who, Renner argues, can afford to remove the old tanks with no financial help from the province.
But Renner said its likely the big companies will not dig up the tanks. “It’s cheaper for them to pay the taxes than pay for the decontamination.”
Read the full story in Saturday's Edmonton Journal.

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