Legislative Whirlwind Part 2: ADEQ Gas Tank Removal in Phoenix

ADEQ

ADEQ removes gas storage tanks from a defunct gas station. One tank is on the truck, while the other is still in the ground.

Did you ever wonder what happens to the storage tanks when a gas station closes? In Arizona, taxpayers often fund removal of the tanks– not the companies that installed them.

When I was  professional photographer, one of my favorite subjects to photograph was industry, because of the sheer scale of the machinery and striking angles of industrial settings. Consequently, I jumped at the chance to watch two massive gas storage tanks being removed from an old, out-of-business gas station. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has a gas tank storage removal program, bankrolled by a special fund set up by the Arizona Legislature.

I think that is great to remove hazardous waste– like old gas storage tanks– and I would support more funding for ADEQ so they could step up the pace on the clean-up. According to ADEQ staff, there are hundreds of defunct gas stations and other industry-related environmental clean-up projects around Arizona that ADEQ is responsible for. Shouldn’t corporations take more responsibility for cleaning up their own environmental messes? Many “Mom-and-Pop” convenience stores/gas stations probably don’t have the funds for gas tank removal and clean-up after they close their doors, but corporate-owned gas stations should be cleaned up by the corporate people who own them, in my humble opinion.

As a Mom, I can’t remember how many times I have said: “You made that mess. You clean it up.”

Legislative Reps. Kirsten Engel, Pamela Powers Hannley (far left) and Kelli Townsend (right) with ADEQ staff (center) and Senator Andrea Dalessandro-- watching gas tank removal on a chilly December morning.

Legislative Reps. Kirsten Engel, Pamela Powers Hannley (far left) and Kelli Townsend (right) with ADEQ staff (center) and Senator Andrea Dalessandro– watching gas tank removal on a chilly December morning.

This is the second blog post in a five-part series on my first few weeks as a representative-elect:

Legislative Whirlwind Begins: Tours & Meetings, Oh, My! (Part 1)

Legislative Whirlwind Part 2: ADEQ Gas Tank Removal in Phoenix

Legislative Whirlwind Part 3: 92,000 Cows

Legislative Whirlwind Part 4: Lettuce & Birds

Legislative Whirlwind Part 5: Migrant Workers

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15 responses to “Legislative Whirlwind Part 2: ADEQ Gas Tank Removal in Phoenix

  1. John Huppenthal

    Likewise, the California State Water Resources Control Board examined “perhaps the largest (data set) ever compiled that deals with the impact of fuel hydrocarbon releases over an extended geographic area,” according to Rice, Grose, et al. Lawrence Livermore reports that this study found that plumes extended no more than about 250 ft in 90% of these cases. Bacteria multiply along a plume`s boundary and drive it backward like a huge army driving a battle front

  2. John Huppenthal

    Reply to Not Tom:

    “Subsequently, more facts specifically relating to LUSTs and groundwater have come to light. In 1995, the California State Water Resources Control Board received a stunning conclusion from a study conducted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in conjunction with the University of California (UC) at Los Angeles, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis: Microbes eat spilled petroleum products underground, and pump-and-treat remediation is unnecessary. Likewise, excavation of contaminated dirt proves only marginally helpful, since nature readily eliminates free product in a reasonable length of time. Leaving free product buried where it spills is the best method of disposal in most cases, the report concludes.”

    Who is embarrassing themselves? Who needs to stop posting?

  3. John Huppenthal

    Turns out the whole superfund concept is based on a complete lack of science. Naturally occuring microbes in the soil attack the gasoline molecular structure and wipe it out completely. The environment is self cleaning.

    All of the screeching alarm is overblown by a factor of a hundred.

    Why should service station owners who are paying for technology that won’t leak pay for the leakers? Where is the justice in that?

    Finally, in all of your bigotry, you smear the Koch brothers just because they believe in an economy that works. You should be aware in their company, they have a philosophy of 100% compliance with regulations 100% of the time. They call it 10,000 percent compliance.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      I can’t believe someone as gullible to industry propaganda and so ignorant of science was ever in charge of education.

      Gasoline contains high levels of benzene, there is no “safe” amount of benzene.

      You are partially correct, however, the planet is self-cleaning, eventually it will clean itself of us.

      Stop posting, you embarrass yourself.

      • John Huppenthal

        Read the research. You can saturate a chunk of dirt with gasoline or oil and the microbes will completely clean it up.

        And, I am not saying there is a safe amount of benzene, I am just saying the risk presented to us by the gas tank spills is very low.

        Here is a headline for you:

        Bugs make a meal of benzene : Nature News

      • John Huppenthal

        Subsequently, more facts specifically relating to LUSTs and groundwater have come to light. In 1995, the California State Water Resources Control Board received a stunning conclusion from a study conducted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in conjunction with the University of California (UC) at Los Angeles, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis: Microbes eat spilled petroleum products underground, and pump-and-treat remediation is unnecessary. Likewise, excavation of contaminated dirt proves only marginally helpful, since nature readily eliminates free product in a reasonable length of time. Leaving free product buried where it spills is the best method of disposal in most cases, the report concludes.

        Just who embarrasses themselves and needs to stop posting? That would be you, wouldn’t it?

        • For Sure Not Tom

          You are mixing science with fossil fuel industry propaganda to paint a rosy picture of life covered in oil.

          You sound like The Great Idiot, Ronald Reagan, telling American’s trees are the real cause of pollution.

          Still you, Master of SockPuppets, that needs to stop posting. It will always be you.

  4. Okay, but I want to play Devil’s Advocate for just a moment.

    You claim that: “Many “Mom-and-Pop” convenience stores/gas stations probably don’t have the funds for gas tank removal and clean-up after they close their doors, but corporate-owned gas stations should be cleaned up by the corporate people who own them, in my humble opinion.”

    Now, I’m all for populism and making the Shells, Exxons, QuikTrips, and so forth of the world pay for cleanup, but does the consumer still end up paying when a Mom&Pop goes out of business as per normal?

    Seems like the better, though perhaps politically less tenable way of addressing this is through an increase in the gasoline tax. We have the lowest gas tax in the country to the best of my knowledge, our roads are in disrepair, and we should be using this as a way to discourage fuel consumption going forward; I think it would be reasonable to have a 1/4 cent per gallon (or whatever it comes out to) tax earmarked for gasoline tank removal and site cleanup.

    • I like an increase in the gas tax, but I am afraid the money from that will just wind up in the general fund where it will be distributed to corporations and rich people.

      • Can anybody come up with a mechanism n law that prevents the state from taking funds intended for one purpose and using them for an entirely different one?

        • In the last session, there was a bill to stop the HURF sweeps. It was passed by one of the Chambers but didn’t get all the way through the process. Hopefully, someone is proposing this again.

      • As far as I am aware, the State Constitution requires that gas tax funds go into HURF – the Highway Use Revenue Fund (may not be quite right on the acronym), and are earmarked for road maintenance and repair. Of course, to some extent, all funds are fungible, but use of a separate fund which receives no funding from the general fund would be about the best way to ensure that the money can’t be used for other purposes.

        • I found out that they have been sweeping the HURF funds to pay for the Department of Public Safety. I chimed in: “Back in Tucson, we hear a lot about the Sun Tran Bus System being self-sustaining and paying for itself with fare hikes. Why doesn’t the Department of Public Safety pay for itself?” (Obviously, DPS has revenue streams available.)

          I didn’t get an answer.

  5. Wonderful idea, having industry fund its own clean up. Talk about industry privatizing the profits and socializing the costs. The easiest way to fund it would be a fee on installation, tanks go in the ground they get charged a fee equal to the cost of removal, disposal, and projected inflation that goes directly into a fund set up at ADEQ. Make sure the fund has specific language that it can’t be used for any other purpose to prevent the state from sweeping it to fund other things, or to use that fund for day to day stuff at ADEQ that the state should be funding from the general fund (or something like that). Good luck getting that past our Koch funded legislature. But at the very least it will embarrass the heck out of them if you can get some news coverage.