SC Senate bill increases gas tank cleanup fees

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's gas stations would see annual fees for their underground tanks rise from $100 to $500 by 2015 with legislation that has gotten key approval in the Senate.

The state Senate voted 35-2 Tuesday to raise the fees to head off state cleanup fund shortfalls that have threatened Environmental Protection Agency action. The fee hasn't been changed since 1990.

Republican Sen. Danny Verdin of Laurens says the state now has $2.2 million in its cleanup fund and the EPA requires it to have $36 million.

Verdin says gas station operators support the fee increase. He says the annual assessment would fall back to $100 when the fund has reached $36 million.

The legislation could get final Senate approval Wednesday.

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