The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(a) To enhance cooperation between the department and the regulated community, and to reduce the state’s costs associated with the oversight of cleanup efforts, the costs of the associated cost recovery program and the corresponding costs to the responsible parties involved, the oversight program should be administered in an efficient, responsible, and accountable manner.
According to information provided to the Legislature, the department has collected more than seventy-one million dollars ($71,000,000) since the cost recovery effort was begun in the early 1980s and there is approximately seventy million dollars ($70,000,000) to eighty million dollars ($80,000,000) in outstanding receivables for disputed site cleanup oversight costs. The information provided to the Legislature indicates that potentially responsible parties have complained that the department’s oversight costs have been unpredictable, unsubstantiated, and exceedingly high.
(c) Disputes with potentially responsible parties over the reasonableness of oversight costs have been a major factor in the difficulty that the department has experienced in conducting cost recovery. Disputes of that kind substantially increase the cost of state operations and the cost of doing business for the private sector, leading to extended
negotiations and litigation. The redirection of resources by both parties in attempting to resolve those differences most likely inhibit cleanup efforts and affect the ability of the parties to work together cooperatively, thereby exacerbating the costs associated with the cleanups. Disputes would be reduced by clarifying current law by providing definitions of direct and indirect oversight costs. Further, these high costs affect the competitiveness of California businesses in national and global business environments.