House Bill No. 288
Introduced By Ohs, Rehbein, Beaudry, Knox, Tash, Cole, Grimes, Wagner
A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act clarifying the liability provisions for persons who make voluntary contributions to a specific remediation account; amending section
75-10-704, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date and a retroactive applicability date.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 75-10-704, MCA, is amended to read:
"75-10-704. Environmental quality protection fund. (1) There is in the state special revenue fund an environmental quality protection fund to be administered as a revolving fund by the department. The department is authorized to expend amounts from the fund necessary to carry out the purposes of this part.
(2) The fund may be used by the department only to carry out the provisions of this part and for remedial actions taken by the department pursuant to this part in response to a release of hazardous or deleterious substances.
(3) The department shall:
(a) except as provided in subsection (7), establish and implement a system for prioritizing sites for remedial action based on potential effects on human health and the environment; and
(b) investigate, negotiate, and take legal action, as appropriate, to identify liable persons, to obtain the participation and financial contribution of liable persons for the remedial action, to achieve remedial action, and to recover costs and damages incurred by the state.
(4) There must be deposited in the fund:
(a) all penalties, forfeited financial assurance, natural resource damages, and remedial action costs recovered pursuant to 75-10-715;
(b) all administrative penalties assessed pursuant to 75-10-714 and all civil penalties assessed pursuant to 75-10-711(5);
(c) funds appropriated to the fund by the legislature; and
(d) funds received from the interest income of the resource indemnity trust fund pursuant to 15-38-202.
(5) Whenever a legislative appropriation is insufficient to carry out the provisions of this part and additional money remains in the fund, the department shall seek additional authority to spend money from the fund through the budget amendment process provided for in Title 17, chapter 7, part 4.
(6) Whenever the amount of money in the fund is insufficient to carry out remedial action, the department may apply to the governor for a grant from the environmental contingency account established pursuant to 75-1-1101.
(7) (a) There is established a state special revenue account for all funds donated or granted from private parties to remediate a specific release at a specific facility. There must be deposited into the account the interest income earned on the account. A person is not liable under 75-10-715 solely as a result of contributing to this account.
(b) Funds donated or granted for a specific project pursuant to this subsection (7) must be accumulated in the fund until the balance of the donated or granted funds is sufficient, as determined by the department, to remediate the facility pursuant to the requirements of 75-10-721 for which the funds are donated.
(c) If the balance of the fund created in this subsection (7), as determined by the department pursuant to the requirements of 75-10-721, is not sufficient to remediate the facility within 1 year from the date of the initial contribution, all donated or granted funds, including any interest on those donated or granted funds, must be returned to the grantor.
(d) If the balance for a specific project is determined by the department to be sufficient to remediate the facility pursuant to the requirements of 75-10-721, the department shall give that site high priority for remedial action, using the funds donated under this subsection (7).
(e) This subsection (7) is not intended to delay, to interfere with, or to diminish the authority or actions of the department
to investigate, negotiate, and take legal action, as appropriate, to identify liable persons, to obtain the participation and
financial contribution of liable persons for the remedial action, to achieve remedial action, and to recover costs and
damages incurred by the state.
Subsections (7) and (8) do not pertain to facilities where the department has initiated actions
under this part.
(f) The department shall expend the funds in a manner that maximizes the application of the funds to physically remediating the specific release.
(8) (a) A person may donate in-kind services to remediate a specific release at a specific facility pursuant to subsection (7).
that who donates in-kind services is not liable under 75-10-715 solely as a result of the contribution of in-kind
(b) A person who donates in-kind services with respect to remediating a specific release at a specific facility is not liable under this part to any person for injuries, costs, damages, expenses, or other liability that results from the release or threatened release, including but not limited to claims for indemnification or contribution and claims by third parties for death, personal injury, illness, loss of or damage to property, or economic loss.
(c) Immunity from liability, pursuant to subsection (8)(b), does not apply in the case of a release that is caused by conduct of the entity providing in-kind services that is negligent or grossly negligent or that constitutes intentional misconduct.
This subsection does not minimize the liability, lessen the standard of liability, or otherwise shield from liability a
potentially liable person under 75-10-715 or section 107 of CERCLA for costs or damages incurred as a result of a release
or threatened release of a hazardous or deleterious substance When a person is liable under 75-10-715 for costs or damages
incurred as a result of a release or threatened release of a hazardous or deleterious substance, the person may not avoid that
liability or responsibility under 75-10-711 by subsequent donations of money or in-kind services under the provisions of
subsection (7) and this subsection (8).
(e) Any donated in-kind services that are employed as part of a remedial action pursuant to this subsection (8) must be approved by the department as appropriate remedial action."
Section 2. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
Section 3. Retroactive applicability. [This act] applies retroactively, within the meaning of 1-2-109, to private funds or in-kind services donated after April 14, 1995.