APPROVED BY:____________

POLICY 920 PROVIDING PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK (UST) SETTLEMENTS

This policy applies to all settlements for underground storage tank civil enforcement actions (except where immediate action is necessary to protect human health and the environment). The intent of this policy is to provide notice and opportunity for public comment on all proposed settlements of civil enforcement actions under Chapter 90.76 RCW and Chapter 173-360 WAC.

This policy was developed to meet one of EPA's requirements for state program approval.

Settlement means: An agreement between the Department of Ecology and an UST owner/operator that changes a substantive requirement/s of an order or penalty to resolve pending litigation. An order or penalty is in litigation once it has been appealed to or challenged before an administrative or judicial body.

1. Ecology Will Provide Public Notice

The Toxics Cleanup Program will provide public notice of all proposed UST enforcement settlements. Public notice of proposed settlements will be published in the Toxics Cleanup Program Site Register and a major newspaper in the locale affected.

2. Public Notices Shall Indicate Comment Periods

All public notices shall indicate the public comment period on the proposed action. Comment periods will last for a minimum of 30 days.

3. Public Comment Periods May Be Combined

Whenever reasonable, Toxics Cleanup Program staff shall consolidate public notice and opportunities for public comment under this chapter with public notice and comment requirements under other laws and regulations such as the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) or the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

4. Public Participation Specialists Shall Coordinate With Public Information Staff.

The Toxics Cleanup Program's public participation specialist for the region shall inform the program's public information officer of any pending public notice announcement for the media or a press release. The program public participation specialists and public information officer shall keep each other informed of press releases and announcements regarding the proposed settlement.

5. Public Participation Specialists Shall Provide A Copy Of Public Notices To Public Participation Coordinator.

Public participation specialists shall provide the public participation coordinator at headquarters with a copy of all press releases; announcements to the media; or other information used to notify the public of a public notice and comment period concurrent with the information being released to the public.

6. Ecology Must Respond To Public Comment

The UST regional staff involved with the site and the public participation specialist must provide a responsiveness summary to all individuals who comment on the proposed settlement.

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