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HOUSE BILL NO. 486
INTRODUCED BY S. ANDERSON, L. GROSFIELD, S. GALLUS, J. HARP, D. HARRINGTON, B. MCCARTHY, K. OHS, M. WATERMAN, C. YOUNKIN
AN ACT DEFINING "INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL"; CLARIFYING THE DEFINITION OF "ORPHAN SHARE"; REQUIRING THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY GIVE DUE CONSIDERATION TO INSTITUTIONAL CONTROLS IN SELECTING REMEDIAL ACTIONS; ESTABLISHING AN INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL PROCESS; PROPORTIONATELY REDUCING THE ORPHAN SHARE IF A POTENTIALLY RESPONSIBLE PERSON RECOVERS REMEDIAL ACTION COSTS FROM A FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE PARTY; AMENDING SECTIONS 75-10-701, 75-10-715, AND 75-10-721, MCA; REPEALING SECTION 27, CHAPTER 584, LAWS OF 1995; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 75-10-701, MCA, is amended to read:
"75-10-701. Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Department" means the department of environmental quality provided for in 2-15-3501.
(2) "Director" means the director of the department.
(3) "Environment" means any surface water, ground water, drinking water supply, land surface or subsurface strata, or ambient air within the state of Montana or under the jurisdiction of the state of Montana.
(4) (a) "Facility" means:
(i) any building, structure, installation, equipment, pipe or pipeline (including any pipe into a sewer or publicly owned treatment works), well, pit, pond, lagoon, impoundment, ditch, landfill, storage container, motor vehicle, rolling stock, or aircraft; or
(ii) any site or area where a hazardous or deleterious substance has been deposited, stored, disposed of, placed, or otherwise come to be located.
(b) The term does not include any consumer product in consumer use.
(5) "Fiduciary" means a trustee, executor, administrator, personal representative, custodian, conservator, guardian, or receiver acting or holding property for the exclusive benefit of another person. The term does not include:
(a) a person who has previously owned or operated the property in a nonfiduciary capacity; or
(b) a person acting as fiduciary with respect to a trust or other fiduciary estate that has no objectively reasonable or substantial purpose apart from avoidance of or limitation of liability under this part. For the purposes of 75-10-715(9), the term does not include the state, a state agency, or a political subdivision of the state acting as trustee of natural resources within the state of Montana.
(6) "Foreclosure" means acquisition of title to property through foreclosure, purchase at foreclosure sale, assignment or acquisition of title in lieu of foreclosure, repossession in the case of a lease financing transaction, or acquisition of a right to title or other agreement in full or partial settlement of a loan obligation.
(7) "Fund" means the environmental quality protection fund established in 75-10-704.
(8) "Hazardous or deleterious substance" means a substance that because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics may pose an imminent and substantial threat to public health, safety, or welfare or the environment and is:
(a) a substance that is defined as a hazardous substance by section 101(14) of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. 9601(14), as amended;
(b) a substance identified by the administrator of the United States environmental protection agency as a hazardous substance pursuant to section 102 of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. 9602, as amended;
(c) a substance that is defined as a hazardous waste pursuant to section 1004(5) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. 6903(5), as amended, including a substance listed or identified in 40 CFR 261; or
(d) any petroleum product.
(9) "Household" means single and multiple residences, hotels and motels, bunkhouses, ranger stations, crew quarters, campgrounds, picnic grounds, day-use recreational areas, or similar structures or areas.
(10) "Household refuse" means garbage, trash, and sanitary wastes in septic tanks that are derived from a household.
(11) "Institutional control" means a restriction on the use of real property that mitigates the risk posed to public health, safety, and welfare and the environment. Institutional controls include but are not limited to:
(a) deed restrictions;
(d) convenants, either restrictive or affirmative; and
(e) other mechanisms or physical restrictions for controlling present and future land use, including controlled ground water areas, that are placed upon real property to mitigate the risk to public health, safety, and welfare and the environment.
(11)(12) "Natural resources" means land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, surface water, ground water, drinking water supplies,
and any other resources within the state of Montana owned, managed, held in trust, or otherwise controlled by or
appertaining to the state of Montana or a political subdivision of the state. (12)(13) "Orphan share" means the percentage share of remedial action costs for a facility that is attributable, under the
procedures in 75-10-742 through 75-10-752, to identified but bankrupt or defunct persons who are not affiliated with an
affiliate of any viable person, unless affiliated by stock ownership. (13)(14) "Orphan share fund" means the fund for the orphan share account established in 75-10-743. (14)(15) (a) "Owns or operates" means owning, leasing, operating, managing activities at, or exercising control over the
operation of a facility.
(b) The term does not include holding the indicia of ownership of a facility primarily to protect a security interest in the facility or other location unless the holder has participated in the management of the facility. The term does not apply to the state or a local government that acquired ownership or control through bankruptcy, tax delinquency, abandonment, lien foreclosure, or other circumstances in which the government acquires title by virtue of its function as sovereign, unless the state or local government has caused or contributed to the release or threatened release of a hazardous or deleterious substance from the facility. The term also does not include the owner or operator of the Milltown dam licensed under part 1 of the Federal Power Act (FERC license No. 2543-004) if a hazardous or deleterious substance has been released into the environment upstream of the dam and has subsequently come to be located in the reservoir created by the dam, unless the owner or operator is a person who would otherwise be liable for a release or threatened release under 75-10-715(1).
(15)(16) "Person" means an individual, trust, firm, joint-stock company, joint venture, consortium, commercial entity,
partnership, association, corporation, commission, state or state agency, political subdivision of the state, interstate body, or
the federal government, including a federal agency. (16)(17) "Petroleum product" includes gasoline, crude oil (except for crude oil at production facilities subject to
regulation under Title 82), fuel oil, diesel oil or fuel, lubricating oil, oil sludge or refuse, and any other petroleum-related
product or waste or fraction of the product or waste that is liquid at standard conditions of temperature and pressure (60
degrees F and 14.7 pounds per square inch absolute). (17)(18) "Reasonably anticipated future uses" means likely future land or resource uses that take into consideration:
(a) local land and resource use regulations, ordinances, restrictions, or covenants;
(b) historical and anticipated uses of the facility;
(c) patterns of development in the immediate area; and
(d) relevant indications of anticipated land use from the owner of the facility and local planning officials.
(18)(19) "Release" means any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping,
leaching, dumping, or disposing of a hazardous or deleterious substance directly into the environment (including the
abandonment or discarding of barrels, containers, and other closed receptacles containing any hazardous or deleterious
substance), but excludes releases confined to the indoor workplace environment, the use of pesticides as defined in
80-8-102(30) when they are applied in accordance with approved federal and state labels, and the use of commercial
fertilizers, as defined in 80-10-101(2), when applied as part of accepted agricultural practice. (19)(20) "Remedial action" includes all notification, investigation, administration, monitoring, cleanup, restoration,
mitigation, abatement, removal, replacement, acquisition, enforcement, legal action, health studies, feasibility studies, and
other actions necessary or appropriate to respond to a release or threatened release. (20)(21) "Remedial action contract" means a written contract or agreement entered into by a remedial action contractor
with the state, or with a potentially liable person acting pursuant to an order or request issued by the department, the United
States, or any federal agency, to provide a remedial action with respect to a release or threatened release of a hazardous or
deleterious substance. (21)(22) "Remedial action contractor" means:
(a) any person who enters into and is carrying out a remedial action contract; or
(b) any person who is retained or hired by a person described in subsection
(21)(a) (22)(a) to provide services relating to
a remedial action. (22)(23) "Remedial action costs" means reasonable costs that are attributable to or associated with a remedial action at a
facility, including but not limited to the costs of administration, investigation, legal or enforcement activities, contracts,
feasibility studies, or health studies."
Section 2. Section 75-10-715, MCA, is amended to read:
"75-10-715. Liability -- reimbursement and penalties -- proceedings -- defenses and exclusions. (1) Except as provided in 75-10-742 through 75-10-752, notwithstanding any other provision of law, and subject only to the defenses set forth in subsection (5) and the exclusions set forth in subsection (7), the following persons are jointly and severally liable for a release or threatened release of a hazardous or deleterious substance from a facility:
(a) a person who owns or operates a facility where a hazardous or deleterious substance was disposed of;
(b) a person who at the time of disposal of a hazardous or deleterious substance owned or operated a facility where the hazardous or deleterious substance was disposed of;
(c) a person who generated, possessed, or was otherwise responsible for a hazardous or deleterious substance and who, by contract, agreement, or otherwise, arranged for disposal or treatment of the substance or arranged with a transporter for transport of the substance for disposal or treatment; and
(d) a person who accepts or has accepted a hazardous or deleterious substance for transport to a disposal or treatment facility.
(2) A person identified in subsection (1) is liable for the following costs:
(a) all remedial action costs incurred by the state; and
(b) damages for injury to, destruction of, or loss of natural resources caused by the release or threatened release, including the reasonable technical and legal costs of assessing and enforcing a claim for the injury, destruction, or loss resulting from the release, unless the impaired natural resources were specifically identified as an irreversible and irretrievable commitment of natural resources in an approved final state or federal environmental impact statement or other comparable approved final environmental analysis for a project or facility that was the subject of a governmental permit or license and the project or facility was being operated within the terms of its permit or license.
(3) If the person liable under subsection (1) fails, without sufficient cause, to comply with a department order issued pursuant to 75-10-711(4) or to properly provide remedial action upon notification by the department pursuant to 75-10-711(3), the person may be liable for penalties in an amount not to exceed two times the amount of any costs incurred by the state pursuant to this section.
(4) The department may initiate civil proceedings in district court to recover remedial action costs, natural resource damages, or penalties under subsections (1), (2), and (3). Proceedings to recover costs and penalties must be conducted in accordance with 75-10-722. Venue for any action to recover costs, damages, or penalties lies in the county where the release occurred or where the person liable under subsection (1) resides or has its principal place of business or in the district court of the first judicial district.
(5) A person has a defense and is not liable under subsections (1), (2), and (3) if the person can establish by a preponderance of the evidence that:
(a) the department failed to follow the notice provisions of 75-10-711 when required;
(b) the release did not emanate from any vessel, vehicle, or facility to which the person contributed any hazardous or deleterious substance or over which the person had any ownership, authority, or control and was not caused by any action or omission of the person;
(c) the release or threatened release occurred solely as a result of:
(i) an act or omission of a third party other than either an employee or agent of the person; or
(ii) an act or omission of a third party other than one whose act or omission occurs in connection with a contractual relationship, existing directly or indirectly, with the person, if the person establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the person:
(A) exercised due care with respect to the hazardous or deleterious substance concerned, taking into consideration the characteristics of the hazardous or deleterious substance in light of all relevant facts and circumstances; and
(B) took precautions against foreseeable acts or omissions of a third party and the consequences that could foreseeably result from those acts or omissions;
(d) the release or threat of release occurred solely as the result of an act of God or an act of war;
(e) the release or threatened release was from a facility for which a permit had been issued by the department, the hazardous or deleterious substance was specifically identified in the permit, and the release was within the limits allowed in the permit;
(f) in the case of assessment of penalties under subsection (3), factors beyond the control of the person prevented the person from taking timely remedial action; or
(g) the person transported only household refuse, unless that person knew or reasonably should have known that the hazardous or deleterious substance was present in the refuse.
(6) (a) For the purpose of subsection (5)(c)(ii), the term "contractual relationship" includes but is not limited to land contracts, deeds, or other instruments transferring title or possession, unless the real property on which the facility is located was acquired by the person after the disposal or placement of the hazardous or deleterious substance on, in, or at the facility and one or more of the following circumstances is also established by the person by a preponderance of the evidence:
(i) At the time the person acquired the facility, the person did not know and had no reason to know that a hazardous or deleterious substance that is the subject of the release or threatened release was disposed of on, in, or at the facility.
(ii) The person is a governmental entity that acquired the facility by escheat, lien foreclosure, or through any other involuntary transfer or acquisition or through the exercise of eminent domain authority by purchase or condemnation.
(iii) The person acquired the facility by inheritance or bequest.
(b) In addition to establishing one or more of the circumstances in subsection (6)(a)(i) through (6)(a)(iii), the person shall establish that the person has satisfied the requirements of subsection (5)(c)(i) or (5)(c)(ii).
(c) To establish that the person had no reason to know, as provided in subsection (6)(a)(i), the person must have undertaken, at the time of acquisition, all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property consistent with good commercial or customary practice in an effort to minimize liability. For purposes of assessing this inquiry, the following must be taken into account:
(i) any specialized knowledge or experience on the part of the person;
(ii) the relationship of the purchase price to the value of the property if uncontaminated;
(iii) commonly known or reasonably ascertainable information about the property;
(iv) the obviousness of the presence or the likely presence of contamination on the property; and
(v) the ability to detect the contamination by appropriate inspection.
(d) (i) Subsections (5)(b) and (5)(c) or this subsection (6) may not diminish the liability of a previous owner or operator of the facility who would otherwise be liable under this part.
(ii) Notwithstanding this subsection (6), if the previous owner or operator obtained actual knowledge of the release or threatened release of a hazardous or deleterious substance at the facility when the person owned the real property and then subsequently transferred ownership of the property to another person without disclosing the knowledge, the previous owner is liable under subsections (1), (2), and (3) and a defense under subsection (5)(b) or (5)(c) is not available to that person.
(e) Subsection (6) does not affect the liability under this part of a person who, by any act or omission, caused or contributed to the release or threatened release of a hazardous or deleterious substance that is the subject of the action relating to the facility.
(7) A person has an exclusion and is not liable under this section if:
(a) the person generated or disposed of only household refuse, unless the person knew or reasonably should have known that the hazardous or deleterious substance was present in the refuse;
(b) the person owns or operates real property where hazardous or deleterious substances have come to be located solely as a result of subsurface migration in an aquifer from a source or sources outside the person's property, provided that the following conditions are met:
(i) the owner or operator did not cause, contribute to, or exacerbate the release or threatened release of any hazardous or deleterious substances through any act or omission. The failure to take affirmative steps to mitigate or address contamination that has migrated from a source outside the owner's or operator's property does not, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, constitute an omission by the owner or operator.
(ii) the person who caused, contributed to, or exacerbated the release or threatened release of any hazardous or deleterious substance is not and was not an agent or employee of the owner or operator and is not or was not in a direct or indirect contractual relationship with the owner or operator, unless the department provides a written determination that an existing or proposed contractual relationship is an insufficient basis to establish liability under this section;
(iii) there is no other basis of liability under subsection (1) for the owner or operator for the release or threatened release of a hazardous or deleterious substance; and
(iv) the owner or operator cooperates with the department and all persons conducting department-approved remedial actions on the property, including granting access and complying with and implementing all required institutional controls;
(c) the person owns or occupies real property of 20 acres or less for residential purposes, provided that the following conditions are met:
(i) the person did not cause, contribute to, or exacerbate the release or threatened release of any hazardous or deleterious substance through any act or omission;
(ii) the person uses or allows the use of the real property for residential purposes. This exclusion does not apply to any person who acquires or develops real property for commercial use or any use other than residential use.
(iii) at the time the person purchased or occupied the real property, there were no visible indications of contamination on the surface of the real property;
(iv) the person cooperates with the department and all persons conducting department-approved remedial actions on the property, including granting access and complying with and implementing all required institutional controls; and
(v) there is no other basis of liability under subsection (1) for the owner or occupier for the release or threatened release of a hazardous or deleterious substance.
(8) A person is liable under this section if the department provides substantial credible evidence that the person fails to satisfy any element of each exclusion in subsections (7)(a) through (7)(c).
(9) The liability of a fiduciary under the provisions of this part for a release or a threatened release of a hazardous or deleterious substance from a facility held in a fiduciary capacity may not exceed the assets held in the fiduciary capacity that are available to indemnify the fiduciary unless the fiduciary is liable under this part independent of the person's ownership or actions taken in a fiduciary capacity.
(10) A person who holds indicia of ownership in a facility primarily to protect a security interest is not liable under
subsections (1)(a) and (1)(b) for having participated in the management of a facility within the meaning of
75-10-701(14)(b) 75-10-701(15)(b) because of any one or any combination of the following:
(a) holding an interest in real or personal property when the interest is being held as security for payment or performance of an obligation, including but not limited to a mortgage, deed of trust, lien, security interest, assignment, pledge, or other right or encumbrance against real or personal property that is furnished by the owner to ensure repayment of a financial obligation;
(b) requiring or conducting financial or environmental assessments of a facility or a portion of a facility, making financing conditional upon environmental compliance, or providing environmental information or reports;
(c) monitoring the operations conducted at a facility or providing access to a facility to the department or its agents or to remedial action contractors;
(d) having the mere capacity or unexercised right to influence a facility's management of hazardous or deleterious substances;
(e) giving advice, information, guidance, or direction concerning the administrative and financial aspects, as opposed to day-to-day operational aspects, of a borrower's operations;
(f) providing general information concerning federal, state, or local laws governing the transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal of hazardous or deleterious substances and concerning the hiring of remedial action contractors;
(g) engaging in financial workouts, restructuring, or refinancing of a borrower's obligations;
(h) collecting rent, maintaining utility services, securing a facility from unauthorized entry, or undertaking other activities to protect or preserve the value of the security interest in a facility;
(i) extending or denying credit to a person owning or in lawful possession of a facility;
(j) in an emergency, requiring or undertaking activities to prevent exposure of persons to hazardous or deleterious substances or to contain a release;
(k) requiring or conducting remedial action in response to a release or threatened release if prior notice is given to the department and the department approves of the remedial action; or
(l) taking title to a facility by foreclosure, provided that the holder of indicia of ownership, from the time the holder acquires title, undertakes to sell, re-lease property held pursuant to a lease financing transaction (whether by a new lease financing transaction or substitution of the lessee), or otherwise divest itself of the property in a reasonably expeditious manner, using whatever commercially reasonable means are relevant or appropriate with respect to the facility and taking all facts and circumstances into consideration and provided that the holder does not:
(i) outbid or refuse a bid for fair consideration for the property or outbid or refuse a bid that would effectively compensate the holder for the amount secured by the facility;
(ii) worsen the contamination at the facility;
(iii) incur liability under subsection (1)(c) or (1)(d) by arranging for disposal of or transporting hazardous or deleterious substances; or
(iv) engage in conduct described in subsection (11).
(11) The protection from liability provided in subsections (9) and (10) is not available to a fiduciary or to a person holding indicia of ownership primarily to protect a security interest if the fiduciary or person through affirmative conduct:
(a) causes or contributes to a release of hazardous or deleterious substances from the facility;
(b) allows others to cause or contribute to a release of hazardous or deleterious substances; or
(c) in the case of a person holding indicia of ownership primarily to protect a security interest, actually participates in the management of a facility by:
(i) exercising decisionmaking control over environmental compliance; or
(ii) exercising control at a level comparable to that of a manager of the enterprise with responsibility for day-to-day decisionmaking either with respect to environmental compliance or substantially all of the operational, as opposed to financial or administrative, aspects of the facility."
Section 3. Section 75-10-721, MCA, is amended to read:
"75-10-721. Degree of cleanup required -- permit exemption -- financial assurance. (1) A remedial action performed under this part or a voluntary cleanup under 75-10-730 through 75-10-738 must attain a degree of cleanup of the hazardous or deleterious substance and control of a threatened release or further release of that substance that assures protection of public health, safety, and welfare and of the environment.
(2) In approving or carrying out remedial actions performed under this part, the department:
(a) except as provided in subsection (4), shall require cleanup consistent with applicable state or federal environmental requirements, criteria, or limitations;
(b) may consider substantive state or federal environmental requirements, criteria, or limitations that are relevant to the site conditions; and
(c) shall select remedial actions, considering present and reasonably anticipated future uses, giving due consideration to institutional controls, that:
(i) demonstrate acceptable mitigation of exposure to risks to the public health, safety, and welfare and the environment;
(ii) are effective and reliable in the short term and the long term;
(iii) are technically practicable and implementable;
(iv) use treatment technologies or resource recovery technologies if practicable, giving due consideration to
and engineering controls; and
(v) are cost-effective.
(3) In selecting remedial actions, the department shall consider the acceptability of the actions to the affected community, as indicated by community members and the local government.
(4) The department may select a remedial action that does not meet an applicable state environmental requirement, criteria, or limitation under any one of the following circumstances:
(a) The remedial action is an interim measure and will become part of a total remedial action that will attain the applicable requirement, criteria, or limitation.
(b) Compliance with the applicable requirement, criteria, or limitation will result in greater risk to human health and the environment than other remedial action alternatives.
(c) Compliance with the applicable requirement, criteria, or limitation is technically impracticable from an engineering perspective.
(d) The remedial action will attain a standard of performance that is equivalent to that required under the otherwise applicable requirement, criteria, or limitation through use of another method or approach.
(e) Compliance with the requirement would not be cost-effective.
(5) For purposes of this section, cost-effectiveness must be determined through an analysis of incremental costs and incremental risk reduction and other benefits of alternatives considered, taking into account the total anticipated short-term and long-term costs of remedial action alternatives considered, including the total anticipated cost of operation and maintenance activities.
(6) The department may exempt any portion of a remedial action that is conducted entirely on site from a state or local permit that would, in the absence of the remedial action, be required if the remedial action is carried out in accordance with the standards established under this section and this part.
(7) The department may require financial assurance from a liable person in an amount that the department determines will ensure the long-term operation and maintenance of the remedial action site. The liable person shall provide the financial assurance by any one method or combination of methods satisfactory to the department, including but not limited to insurance, guarantee, performance or other surety bond, letter of credit, qualification as a self-insurer, or other demonstration of financial capability."
Section 4. Institutional controls. (1) An owner of real property may, with department approval, restrict the use of the owner's real property to mitigate the risk posed to the public health, safety, and welfare and the environment by imposing on the real property, without conveying the property or creating a dominant and servient estate, an appropriate institutional control.
(2) An institutional control restricting present and future real property rights is placed on a property by filing a written instrument evidencing the restrictions to be placed on the use of the property with the county clerk in the county in which the property is located.
(3) An institutional control that restricts real property runs with the land and is binding on all successors in interest to real property until the institutional control is removed.
(4) An institutional control must be removed if there is not an unacceptable risk posed to public health, safety, and welfare and the environment. An owner may request department approval to remove all or a portion of the institutional controls from the real property. The department shall review the request and provide the owner with its decision to approve or deny the request within 120 days from the department's receipt of the request. If the department denies the request, it shall provide the owner with a written explanation of the denial. A department decision to deny the request may be appealed to the board of environmental review and conducted as a contested case proceeding pursuant to Title 2, chapter 4.
(5) If the department or the board approves an owner's request to remove all or a portion of the institutional controls, the owner shall file the approval with the county clerk in the county in which the real property is located.
Section 5. Remedial action costs. (1) If a potentially liable person or assignee recovers remedial action costs at a particular site from a financially responsible party, reimbursement from the orphan share is proportionally reduced by the amount of remedial action costs recovered, less any litigation expenses, including attorney fees and costs.
(2) The department may, in defending the orphan share, initiate a court action against a potentially liable party, an affiliate, or another financially responsible party to recover the orphan's share.
Section 6. Repealer. Section 27, Chapter 584, Laws of 1995, is repealed.
Section 7. Codification instruction. [Sections 4 and 5] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 75, chapter 10, part 7, and the provisions of Title 75, chapter 10, part 7, apply to [sections 4 and 5].
Section 8. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
- END -
Latest Version of HB 486 (HB0486.ENR)
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