I’ve Submitted My Application to the UST Cleanup Fund - What Comes Next?

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So, you became a responsible party (RP) - that’s any person who is liable under state or local law for taking action in response to a release from an underground storage tank (UST). Hopefully, you submitted an application to the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund (USTCF) to get the financial help you are eligible for. What comes next? 

Eligibility

It takes approximately 60 days for the USTCF to review a typical claim application. If the claim is found eligible, it is placed on the Priority List. In this case the RP becomes the claimant. Claim Priority is assigned based on the kind of the RP applying for a claim, such as a property owner or a corporation. The Priority is divided into four groups designated Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D. 

Claim Priority Classes

Class A - The highest priority is Class A, which is reserved for claimants who are residential UST owners. Certain restrictions apply when determining if a UST can be qualified under Class A. The UST must be (or have been) used for the storage of petroleum, installed below ground, and must be on land used exclusively for residential purposes, including home heating oil USTs. USTs under this classification cannot be used for the purposes of resale or agriculture.

Class B - To qualify for Class B, you must be an independently owned and operated small business dominant in your field of operation and employ 100 or fewer employees, with an average of 15 million dollars or less in gross receipts over the three years prior to the date of the claim application. You will need to submit tax documents, returns, and payroll reports with your application to prove qualifications for this class. 

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Class C - Claimants who do not qualify for Class A or Class B usually fall into this class. Class C claimants cannot employ more than 500 full time or pa
rt time employees. If your claim has been assigned Class C priority, and you believe you qualify for Class B priority, you can appeal the decision by submitting a formal request to the USTCF along with supporting documentation.

Class D - Claimants who do not qualify for Class A, Class B, or Class C are placed into Class D. These claimants are typically large corporations such as Shell or Chevron, but include many governmental agencies in local sectors who employ more than 500 workers. School districts were assigned Class D until 2008, when a separate cleanup account (School District Account) was established to provide funding for school district claimants.

For a comprehensive list of requirements for each priority class, visit the USTCF’s FAQ page.

Letter of Commitment

Following assignment of priority, the claim will be issued a letter of commitment (LOC), which is a statement obligating funds to be paid to the claimant. This is the USTCF’s promise to provide reimbursement to the claimant for eligible costs. LOCs are issued based on available funds, and priority is given to Class A applicants. As more funds become available, more LOCs are issued in turn to lower priority classes B, C, and D. It is important to note that priority class does not determine the amount of money assigned to a claim. Each claim is capped at one million dollars. The USTCF states there is no way to predict the date you will be issued an LOC.

Close

We spoke about what to look for once you have submitted your application to the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund. We touched on eligibility, priority classification, and the letter of commitment. We have over 30 years of assisting our clients take full advantage of the USTCF to complete investigation, cleanup and closure of their sites. If we can help you through the USTCF process and advocate on your behalf, please click on the button to schedule a free consultation.

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