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The Breakdown of Indiana’s Excess Liability Trust Fund (ELTF) System. What Went Right and What Went Wrong.

Authors: Richard Lenz*, Creek Run LLC Environmental Engineering
Topics: Environmental Science
Keywords: Indiana, Excess Liability Trust Fund, Underground Storage Tank, Environmental Science
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Indiana, prior to 2017, had established itself as a leader in environmental due diligence. Following regulatory guidelines implemented in 1986, Indiana created a state regulatory agency led by environmental professionals. Two years later, in 1988, the Underground Storage Tank (UST) division within the state agency established the Excess Liability Trust Fund (ELTF), a fund for financial aid UST owners with abatement and remediation activities after the removal of UST’s. The fund was subsidized via a statewide tax placed upon the retail sale of fuel. The attended purpose of the program was widely underutilized for many years following its creation allowing for a large surplus. However, once access to the fund by environmental consultants became a marketing tool, environmental due diligence escalated, and hundreds of properties were successful at obtaining closure and no further action (NFA) for historic releases. Success led in some cases to greed, and by 2017 Indiana led the nation in the cost for an environmental cleanup of a release from a UST. It has become evident that over the last decade fraud, waste, and abuse of the fund is and was all too common, and the regulatory agency was not equipped to take fiduciary responsibility in properly managing the fund. Now the state ELTF has dwindling resources and access is being limited as new regulatory leadership attempts to react to the situation and seek out help from the state legislature.

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