The Legislature has passed and the Governor has signed Act No. 2000-740.
This legislation creates the Alabama Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust Fund ("the fund") which will benefit a drycleaning industry self-insurance program to cover the costs of investigating, assessing, and remediating drycleaning contamination. This program will be jointly administered by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management ("ADEM") and the Alabama Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust Fund Board("the Board") which is created by the Act. References in Act No. 2000-740 to "the department" refer to ADEM and not to the Department of Revenue.
Section 4 provides that drycleaning owners or operators and wholesale distributors may elect to be covered or not to be covered by this act during the twelve-month period ending May 24, 2001. This section further provides that eligible parties who elect not to be covered, or fail to make an election, during the initial twelve-month period shall have an additional 12 months to reconsider their decision.
The program will be funded by the levy of registration fees to be collected by the Department of Revenue and deposited into the fund. Section 6 of Act No. 2000-740 provides for the payment of registration fees to the Department of Revenue by owners or operators, wholesale distributors, and owners of abandoned drycleaning facilities electing to be covered by the Act. The registration fees levied on owners or operators vary depending upon whether the owner or operator owns or operates a facility on the effective date of the Act, is a new owner or operator who acquires an existing facility after the effective date, or is a new owner who establishes a new facility after the effective date. The term "gross receipts" used in Section 6 is defined in Section 6(g). Other definitions are provided in Section 3. Section 6 also requires the Department of Revenue to issue to anyone electing to be covered by the program a certificate of registration which must be conspicuously posted and to provide receipts for payments of registration fees. Unless otherwise provided, registration fees will be paid pursuant to Section 6(h). The Department of Revenue is to collect and administer the registration fees pursuant to Chapter 2A of Title 40.
Section 4(a)(4) provides that, if on May 24, 2002, the registration fees collected by the Department of Revenue have not exceeded one million dollars, the fund will terminate, pro rata refunds will be issued from the fund by the Board, and the Act becomes null and void. Section 5(d) provides for a suspension in the collection of registration fees if the unobligated principal of the fund equals or exceeds eight million dollars on April first of any year and for a resumption of the collection of the fees if the unobligated principal balance of the fund thereafter equals four million dollars or less.
Act No. 2000-740 became effective May 24, 2000.