Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
July 2004
Public Hearing to Discuss Comm 5 and 47 Rule Changes

On July 15, 2004, the Department held a Public Hearing on proposed rule changes in chapters Comm 5 and 47, relating to Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund awards (PECFA) and associated credentials.

The proposed changes to Comm 5 and 47 would primarily:
(1) update the Department's criteria for reimbursing costs for cleanup of properties contaminated by petroleum product discharges, to be consistent with several statutory changes that have occurred after corresponding portions of these chapters were either established or revised; and
(2) implement various improvements to the PECFA administrative and regulatory processes.

The major elements of these changes consist of:
(1) establishing Certified PECFA Program Managers, who would be responsible for managing the financial aspects of all PECFA projects;
(2) codifying the Department's competitive public bidding process, and applying it to both existing and newly reported sites, in a prioritized manner that addresses the highest and most costly threats to human health and the environment first; and
(3) establishing a schedule of usual and customary costs, which would control costs for most of the work not covered by the public bidding process, such as for low-cost sites.

The Hearing comments have been summarized for discussion with the Department's Comm 47 Advisory Committee, at a meeting on August 5.

The next formal step in promulgating these rule changes is to forward a final draft of the rules and a summary of the Hearing comments to standing committees in the Senate and Assembly, which is expected to occur by September 1.

The proposed rules are currently projected to take effect on February 1, 2005, except that as directed by 1999 Wisconsin Act 9, the Department plans to adopt the portion of the rules that addresses usual and customary costs, on September 1, 2004. (See next article.)

-- Sam Rockweiler

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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