House Bill No. 110
Introduced By swanson, mcgee, halligan, grosfield, knox, quilici, beck
By Request of the Governor and the Department of Justice
A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act appropriating money to the Department of Justice for technical, legal, and administrative activities for the State of Montana natural resource damage litigation in the Clark Fork River Basin; extending repayment and providing for interest on previous loans; requiring a contract between the department and the state treasurer in order to effectuate the appropriation; transferring the fund balance in certain federal special revenue accounts to the state special revenue fund; and providing an immediate effective date.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Natural resource damage program appropriation. Subject to [section 4(2)], there is appropriated to the department of justice from the state special revenue fund $2.5 million for the remainder of the current fiscal year and for the biennium ending June 30, 1999, for the purpose of conducting the litigation and pursuing the state of Montana's natural resource damage claims, and any appeals, against the atlantic richfield company through the natural resource damage litigation program. Any recovery in the litigation up to the amount of the loans extended in [section 2] must be deposited in the coal severance tax permanent fund. Any additional amount recovered in the litigation up to the amount appropriated in this section must be deposited in the general fund.
Section 2. Extension of previous loans. Repayment of principal and interest on all loans authorized from the coal severance tax permanent fund under Chapter 354, Laws of 1993, and Chapter 411, Laws of 1995, is extended through the end of the 1999 biennium in accordance with 17-2-107(8).
Section 3. Rate of interest. The interest to be paid on the previous loans extended under [section 2] must be the highest rates allowable for interest recoverable under 42 U.S.C. 9607(a), which are based on the rates specified for interest on investments of the hazardous substance superfund established under 26 U.S.C. 9507. The interest is payable as of the date on which the loan proceeds were or are transferred from the coal severance tax permanent fund.
Section 4. Contracts. (1) In order to extend the previous loans authorized in Chapter 354, Laws of 1993, and Chapter 411, Laws of 1995, the board of investments shall enter into a revised contract with the department of justice, pledging the amount recovered in the litigation to the repayment of the loans to the full extent allowable under law. The contract must provide that loan repayments must be deposited in the coal severance tax permanent fund. To the extent possible, the board shall make the loan from the portion of the coal severance tax permanent fund invested in the short-term pool.
(2) The appropriation in [section 1] is not effective until the department of justice enters into a contract with the state treasurer implementing the redeposit provisions of [section 1].
Section 5. Fund balance transfer -- reconciliation. There is transferred from the social services block grant account $680,000 and from the public welfare account $1,820,000 to the state special revenue fund to the credit of the department of justice. The department of public health and human services may use any of its general fund appropriation to pay federal claims attributable to the funds transferred from these accounts that are related to activity prior to fiscal year 1996.
Section 6. Use of recovered funds. Any funds recovered by the state on the natural resource damage claims against the atlantic richfield company and any interest that accumulates on the funds after their receipt by the state must be used, to the extent consistent with state and federal law, to recoup the expenses of the natural resource damage assessment and the costs of litigating the state's claim and to restore, replace, rehabilitate, or acquire the equivalent of the damaged natural resources that are the subject of the litigation.
Section 7. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.