The Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) provides an effective and efficient government funding model that helps owners and operators meet financial responsibility and environmental cleanup requirements for underground storage tanks.
PLIA is also responsible for:
- Verifying the validity of required declarations of financial responsibility.
- Providing advice and technical assistance about liability, cleanup requirements, and related matters to the owners and operators of heating oil tanks.
- Implementing the Underground Storage Tank Capital Financial Assistance Pilot Program.
Commercial Underground Storage Tanks
PLIA makes pollution liability insurance available and affordable to the owners/operators of petroleum underground storage tanks by serving as the reinsurer of insurance policies.
During the 2015 Legislative Session, PLIA was directed to conduct a pilot demonstration at three study sites with aging tanks, contamination impacting soil or groundwater, or both; and where serious financial hardship existed.
PLIA offers this program to provide up to $60,000 of insurance coverage for cleanup of contamination from heating oil tanks that are registered in the program prior to the contamination occurring.
There is no cost to the owner for this coverage.
PLIA offers this program to provide technical assistance to the owners and operators of active or abandoned heating oil tanks if contamination resulting from a release is suspected.
Assistance regarding administrative and technical requirements may include:
- observation of testing
- site assessment
- reviews of the results of reports
- other appropriate activities
PLIA provides written opinions on the results of testing and assessment and decides whether contamination resulting from a release of heating oil does or does not appear to be a threat to human health and the environment.
PLIA and its programs are funded from the Pollution Liability Insurance Program Trust Account (Trust Account) and the Heating Oil Pollution Liability Trust Account.
Neither PLIA nor any of its programs receive any State General Fund revenue.
The main source of revenue for PLIA and its programs is the Petroleum Products Tax (pdf), an excise tax of 0.3 percent on the wholesale value of petroleum on its first introduction into the state.
RCW 82.23A.020 requires the Petroleum Product Tax to be reinstated when the unrestricted account balance is less than $7,500,000. When the balance reaches $15,000,000 the tax is suspended.
The Heating Oil Pollution Liability Trust Account is established through a fee of 1.2 cents per gallon paid yearly by heating oil dealers.
The PLIA model has operated in a remarkably low cost and efficient manner. In the early 1990s, most states adopted a petroleum tax to address UST issues, and those taxes have remained constantly imposed. Not only has the PLIA model saved businesses millions of dollars on insurance premiums, it has saved them even more by not having the Petroleum Product Tax constantly in effect.