Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law creating a task force charged with strengthening and improving the Illinois Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund. Today's action is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois' economy forward while ensuring a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
"The dry-cleaning industry should be saluted for its efforts to make its operations more environmentally-friendly," Governor Quinn said. "This new task force will help small business owners operate more efficiently and ensure the Trust Fund has the support it needs."
House Bill 3349, sponsored by State Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) and State Senator Pam Althoff (R-Crystal Lake), gives drycleaners greater flexibility in making their required insurance payments by requiring the Trust Fund to provide policyholders additional notices and a 30-day grace period before their coverage expires in the event of a missed payment.
The bill also creates the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Task Force, whose mission will be to make recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly that will increase the Trust Fund's efficiency and effectiveness in supporting the needs of business owners and cleaning up past environmental damage caused by dry-cleaning. The task force's report will be due by December 31, 2014.
The Illinois Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund was established by the Illinois legislature in 1997 in response to requests by operators of retail dry-cleaning facilities to have financial resources available to pay for the cleanup of spills and/or leaks from their dry-cleaning machines and solvent storage units.
The Trust Fund consists of three primary programs: a licensing program, an insurance program and a remedial program. The licensing program is mandatory for all retail dry-cleaning facilities in Illinois. The annual license fee ranges from $1,500 to $5,000, based upon the amount of solvent purchased at the dry-cleaning facility. The insurance program provides up to $500,000 in pollution liability insurance to pay for the cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination caused by a future spill or leak of dry-cleaning solvent at dry-cleaning facilities. The remedial program pays for the cleanup of existing soil or groundwater contamination caused by the spillage or release of dry-cleaning solvents.
The new law is effective immediately.