75-11-301. Intent, findings, and purposes. (1) The legislature, mindful of its constitutional obligations under Article II, section 3, and Article IX of the Montana constitution, has enacted this part. It is the legislature's intent that the requirements of this part provide adequate remedies for the protection of the environmental life support system from degradation and provide adequate remedies to prevent unreasonable depletion and degradation of natural resources.
(2) The legislature finds that the use of petroleum products stored in tanks contributes significantly to the economic well-being and quality of life of Montana citizens.
(3) The legislature finds that leaks, spills, and other releases of petroleum products from storage tanks endanger public health and safety, ground water quality, and other state resources.
(4) The legislature finds that current administrative and financial resources of the public and private sectors are inadequate to address problems caused by releases from petroleum storage tanks and need to be supplemented by a major program of release detection and corrective action.
(5) The legislature finds that proper funding for the program is through a petroleum storage tank cleanup fee paid by persons who use and receive the benefits of petroleum products. The legislature further finds that this general use fee, provided for in 75-11-314, is intended solely to support a program to pay for corrective action and damages caused by releases from petroleum storage tanks. The general use fee is collected from distributors for administrative convenience and is not intended as a method for collecting highway revenue pursuant to the provisions of Article VIII, section 6, of the Montana constitution or 15-70-126.
(6) The purposes of this part are to:
(a) protect public health and safety and the environment by providing prompt detection and cleanup of petroleum tank releases;
(b) provide adequate financial resources and effective procedures through which tank owners and operators may undertake and be reimbursed for corrective action and payment to third parties for damages caused by releases from petroleum storage tanks;
(c) assist certain tank owners and operators in meeting financial assurance requirements under state and federal law governing releases from petroleum storage tanks; and
(d) provide tank owners with incentives to improve petroleum storage tank facilities in order to minimize the likelihood of accidental releases.