The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is embracing a new, collaborative effort to increase government transparency, provide increased technical assistance to industry and to work with communities on issues relating to petroleum storage tanks.
Three distinct groups within or associated with DEQ work with petroleum storage tanks:
- The Underground Storage Tank (UST) Section is part of DEQ’s Waste Management and Remediation Division and is primarily responsible for underground storage tank release prevention.
- The Petroleum Tank Cleanup (PTC) Section is also part of DEQ’s Waste Management and Remediation Division and is primarily responsible for overseeing cleanup at leaking petroleum tank sites.
- The Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board (PTRCB) is authorized in statute and its seven members are appointed by the Governor. While not part of DEQ, it is administratively attached to DEQ and is responsible for determining eligibility for the Petroleum Tank Release Cleanup Fund and for reimbursing claims for DEQ-approved petroleum release investigation and cleanup conducted by eligible responsible parties. The PTRCB employs an Executive Director and several staff to carry out daily PTRCB activities.
These three groups interact with multiple government and non-government stakeholders including petroleum storage tank and petroleum release site owners, tank installers and removers, and environmental consultants. Because of the large number of petroleum releases in Montana, as well as the large number of groups and individuals involved in the petroleum distribution industry, DEQ and several stakeholders determined that there is an opportunity to build trust and improve coordination and communication among our groups. This has led to the formation of a Tanks Stakeholder Workgroup. The Workgroup is intended to increase government transparency and consistency and to increase education, outreach, and communication among the aforementioned groups.
Initial Workgroup Members Include:
- Petroleum Marketers Association Representative—Brad Longcake
- Large Owner—Earl Allen (Hi-Noon Petroleum)
- Small Owner—Deb Monroe (High Country Travel Plaza)
- Consulting Company—Alan Stine (Olympus Technical Services, Inc.)
- Consulting Company—Jim Rolle (West Central Environmental Consultants, Inc.)
- Tank Installer/Remover—Tom Pointer (Tank Management Services)
- PTRCB Member—Ed Thamke
- PTRCB Staff Representative—Terry Wadsworth
- DEQ Underground Storage Tank Representative—Leanne Hackney
- DEQ Leaking Underground Storage Tank Representative—Amy Steinmetz
- DEQ Small Business Ombudsman—John Podolinsky
Other stakeholders may be added to the group based on future identified need. The Workgroup members are dedicated to working together to find common goals and priorities and build on those commonalities to find solutions to issues with opposing viewpoints.
The vision for the Workgroup is to increase transparency and consistency in DEQ and PTRCB processes, as well as to increase education, outreach and communication to and with the regulated public and those representing them.
Our first meeting will be held Wednesday, May 22. If you’re interested in receiving future information about the Workgroup, please email Amy Steinmetz at ASteinmetz@mt.gov with your name and company and email address. Please indicate whether you’re an owner, consultant, installer remover, etc.