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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

115C.03 RESPONSE TO RELEASES.
    Subdivision 1. Corrective action orders. If there is a release, the commissioner may order a
responsible person to take reasonable and necessary corrective actions. The commissioner shall
notify the owner of real property where corrective action is ordered to be taken that responsible
persons have been ordered to take corrective action and that the owner's cooperation will be
required for responsible persons to take that action. When the commissioner has ordered a
responsible person to take a corrective action, a political subdivision may not request or order the
person to take an action that conflicts with the action ordered by the commissioner.
    Subd. 1a. Passive bioremediation. Passive bioremediation must be used for petroleum tank
cleanups whenever an assessment of the site determines that there is a low potential risk to
public health and the environment.
    Subd. 2. Agency and compelled performance corrective actions. The agency may take
corrective action or request the attorney general to bring an action to compel performance of a
corrective action if:
(1) a responsible person cannot be identified;
(2) an identified responsible person cannot or will not comply with the order issued under
subdivision 1; or
(3) an administrative or judicial proceeding on an order issued under subdivision 1 is pending.
    Subd. 3. Emergency corrective action. To assure an adequate response to a release, the
commissioner may take corrective action without following the procedures of subdivision 1 if
the commissioner determines that the release constitutes a clear and immediate danger requiring
immediate action to prevent, minimize, or mitigate damage to the public health and welfare or the
environment. Before taking an action under this subdivision, the commissioner shall make all
reasonable efforts, taking into consideration the urgency of the situation, to order a responsible
person to take a corrective action and notify the owner of real property where the corrective
action is to be taken.
    Subd. 4. Release is a public nuisance. A release is a public nuisance and may be enjoined in
an action, in the name of the state, brought by the attorney general.
    Subd. 5. Investigations. If the commissioner has reason to believe that a release has
occurred, the commissioner may undertake reasonable investigations necessary to identify the
existence, source, nature, and extent of a release, the responsible persons, and the extent of danger
to the public health and welfare or the environment.
    Subd. 6. Duty to provide information. A person who the commissioner has reason to
believe is a responsible person, or the owner of real property where corrective action is ordered to
be taken, or who might otherwise have information concerning a release, shall, when requested
by the commissioner or any member, employee, or agent of the agency who is authorized by
the commissioner, furnish to the commissioner any information that person may have or may
reasonably obtain that is relevant to the release.
    Subd. 7. Access to information and property. The commissioner or any member, employee,
or agent of the agency authorized by the commissioner, may, upon presentation of official agency
credentials, take any of the following actions:
(1) examine and copy books, papers, records, memoranda, or data of a person who has a duty
to provide information to the commissioner under subdivision 6; and
(2) enter upon public or private property for the purpose of taking action authorized by this
section, including obtaining information from a person who has a duty to provide the information
under subdivision 6, conducting surveys and investigations, and taking corrective action.
    Subd. 7a. Review of agency employee decisions. A person aggrieved by a decision made
by an employee of the agency relating to the need for or implementation of a corrective action
may seek review of the decision by the commissioner. An application for review must state with
specificity the decision for which review is sought, the name of the leak site, the leak number,
the date the decision was made, the agency employee who made the decision, the ramifications
of the decision, and any additional pertinent information. The commissioner shall review the
application and schedule a time, date, and place for the aggrieved person to explain the grievance
and for the agency employee to explain the decision under review. The commissioner shall issue a
decision either sustaining or reversing the decision of the employee. The aggrieved person may
appeal the commissioner's decision to the Pollution Control Agency Board in accordance with
Minnesota Rules, part 7000.0500, subpart 6.
    Subd. 8. Classification of data. Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, data
obtained from a person under subdivision 6 or 7 is public data as defined in section 13.02.
Upon certification by the subject of the data that the data relates to sales figures, processes or
methods of production unique to that person, or information that would tend to adversely affect
the competitive position of that person, the commissioner shall classify the data as private or
nonpublic data as defined in section 13.02. Data classified as private or nonpublic under this
subdivision may be disclosed when relevant in a proceeding under this chapter.
    Subd. 9. Requests for review, investigation, and oversight. (a) The commissioner may,
upon request:
(1) assist in determining whether a release has occurred;
(2) assist in or supervise the development and implementation of reasonable and necessary
corrective actions; and
(3) assist in or supervise the investigation, development, and implementation of actions to
minimize, eliminate, or clean up petroleum contamination at sites where it is not certain that
the contamination is attributable to a release.
(b) Assistance may include review of agency records and files and review and approval of a
requester's investigation plans and reports and corrective action plans and implementation.
(c) Assistance may include the issuance of a written determination that an owner or
prospective buyer of real property will not be a responsible person under section 115C.021, if the
commissioner finds the release came from a tank not located on the property. The commissioner
may also issue a written confirmation that the real property was the site of a release and that
the tank from which the release occurred has been removed or that the agency has issued a
site closure letter and has not revoked that status. The issuance of the written determination or
confirmation applies to tanks not on the property or removed only and does not affect liability
for releases from tanks that are on the property at the time of purchase. The commissioner may
also issue site closure letters and nonresponsible person determinations for sites contaminated by
petroleum where it is not certain that the contamination is attributable to a release. The written
determination or confirmation extends to the successors and assigns of the person to whom it
originally applied, if the successors and assigns are not otherwise responsible for the release.
(d) The person requesting assistance under this subdivision shall pay the agency for the
agency's cost, as determined by the commissioner, of providing assistance. Money received by the
agency for assistance under this subdivision must be deposited in the state treasury and credited to
an account in the special revenue fund. Money in this account is annually appropriated to the
commissioner for purposes of administering the subdivision.
    Subd. 10. Corrective action records. A contractor or consultant who has billed for
corrective action services must prepare and retain all records related to the corrective action
services for a minimum of seven years from the date the corrective action services are performed,
including, but not limited to, invoices submitted to applicants, subcontractor invoices, receipts
for equipment rental, and all other goods rented or purchased, personnel time reports, mileage
logs, and expense accounts. An applicant must obtain and retain records necessary to document
costs submitted in a claim for reimbursement for corrective action services for seven years from
the date the claim is submitted to the board.
History: 1987 c 186 s 15; 1987 c 389 s 3; 1989 c 226 s 1; 1990 c 426 art 1 s 15; 1992 c
490 s 5; 1993 c 341 art 1 s 4,5; 1994 c 639 art 4 s 2; 1995 c 220 s 103; 1995 c 240 art 1 s 3;
1996 c 308 s 3; 1997 c 200 art 2 s 3