“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,” says NACS spokesperson.
The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) has responded to final language included in the U.S. House of Representatives’ version of highway reauthorization legislation that raids $3 billion from the federal Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund and diverts future revenues 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.”
The diversion of LUST tax revenues 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, further compromising the integrity of the program.
Congress has repeatedly failed to appropriate sufficient funds to the program. 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.
There are 120,954 convenience stores selling fuel in the U.S., and these retailers sell an estimated 80% of all the fuel purchased in the country. Overall, more than 58% of the convenience stores selling fuel are single-store operators—more than 70,000 stores across the country.