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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Language included in the U.S. House of Representatives' version of the highway reauthorization legislation is drawing criticism from NACS, the Association for Convenience and Fuels Retailing.
According to the association, final language in the bill allows the government to use $3 billion from the federal Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund and diverts future revenue collected for that program to offset the Highway Trust Fund.
"Congress is turning its back on the environment by raiding the LUST Trust Fund -- a program that they created to protect and clean our water systems from underground storage tank contamination," said NACS Director of Government Relations Carin Nersesian. "Stealing $3 billion away from LUST sends a clear message that members of Congress are abandoning a critical and necessary program that protects the health and water security of their constituents."
NACS contends that diverting LUST tax revenue to non-tank related purposes denies communities access to funds that could be used to prevent tank releases and to remediate contaminated sites in which no responsible party can be identified. The highway bill also diverts one-third of new revenues from the LUST Trust Fund.
Since 1986, the LUST Trust Fund has accumulated roughly $3.2 billion, collects approximately $194 million in fees and earns $127 million in interest. However, Congress only appropriates around $112 million per year, according to NACS.