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Proposed tax hike on oil suppliers would cover only a fraction of derelict oil tanks

A man in a track jacket and khaki pants stands with hands in his pockets next to a busted-up gas pump, looking concerned.
Bellamy Pailthorp
Matthew Metz, founder of Coltura, has been lobbying lawmakers for changes to the proposed legislation that he says would fall short of what's needed,

A proposed state program would help gas station owners with maintenance and cleanup of toxic pollution from old petroleum storage tanks. Thousands of them are past warrantee and at high risk for toxic leaks underground. But critics say it would amount to a bailout.

More from KNKX environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp:

The state’s proposal comes from a tiny agency called the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency, or PLIA. It secured an agreement from the oil industry to accept the doubling of a wholesale tax on petroleum products, amounting to about an additional $20 million for cleanup per year. Still, critics of the proposal aren’t happy.

”'s so much greater -- what they're getting than what they're paying,” said Matthew Metz, with the Seattle-based non-profit Coltura that is pushing to move America past gasoline.

He says this proposal is a really good deal for the oil industry, but would leave the state without enough money to clean up after them. He wants lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and evaluate all of the gas stations and their tanks.

...what their condition is, how much it's going to cost to fix. And come up with an adequate financing mechanism to fix it. And make the oil companies pay for it,” Metz said.

The agency behind the plan says it is only meant to be a small piece of the puzzle as the state strives to quickly and safely move away from gas-powered cars.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to