As winter approaches, heating fuel denied hundreds of ‘red tagged’ homeowners

Vermont Fuel Dealers Association Facebook page

A Vermont Agency of Natural Resources rule requires inspectors to affix red tags on heating oil tanks that are at imminent risk of a fuel spill. Fuel distributors are not allowed to deliver fuel to a red-tagged tank until it has been repaired or replaced.

By Guy Page

As late-October cold weather moves in, hundreds of Vermont home and property owners are forbidden to fill up their heating fuel tanks.

These property owners have been “red-tagged,” or found by a mandatory heating fuel tank inspection to have inadequate above-ground fuel storage.

A Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) rule (enabled by a 2017 law) for above ground storage tanks requires inspectors to affix red tags on heating oil tanks that are at imminent risk of a fuel spill, the ANR website says.  Fuel distributors are not allowed to deliver fuel to a red-tagged tank until the tank has been repaired or replaced. Homeowners had until July 31, 2020 to schedule their first inspection. After the first inspection they must have their tanks inspected once every three years.

The red-tag rule helps prevent costly spills of heating oil from above ground storage tanks, ANR said. Last year, Vermont’s Petroleum Cleanup Fund spent over $1 million providing assistance to tank owners for tank upgrades and repairs and paying for cleanups associated with roughly 80 aboveground storage tank releases.  The Petroleum Cleanup Fund’s heating oil account is financed through a one-cent fee on each gallon of heating oil fuel.

The list of ‘red tagged’ property owners is published on the ANR website. It appears to grow every day. Twenty-eight properties have  been added this week alone. Meanwhile, according to a story in yesterday’s VT Digger, fuel tank installers are scrambling to keep up with demand – with some scheduling into December.

For homeowners with yet-to-be inspected tanks, the State inspection deadline of August, 2020 has been extended until May 2021, due in part to the demands of the pandemic.

Most of the property owners are unknown to most Vermonters, but a home belonging to Franklin Billings Jr. of Woodstock did make the list. A Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court and Woodstock resident named Franklin Billings Jr. died in 2014. Several “red-tagged” churches also won’t be getting fuel deliveries without a fuel tank repair or replacement.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Vermont Fuel Dealers Association Facebook page
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8 thoughts on “As winter approaches, heating fuel denied hundreds of ‘red tagged’ homeowners

  1. Why the hell are the inspectors the ones that sell and install the tanks? There is a built-in bias in the system that should be changed! Just add this to the reasons to leave this state. Sorry, most of us will be too poor to leave and start over.

  2. We have never seen the figures used to justify the oil tank inspection/replacement requirement. — What we have is a liberal government that is out of control.

    Old inside tanks might need new legs ($40), and little more if the piping and valves are ok.

  3. Imminent risk? Not. This spring our 1970 tank was red tagged – older, but heated indoor cellar, with zero sign of rust or leaks. $3000 later still found no rust or leaks. I had to fight to get my paid for oil back – my former oil dealer would not do the transfer. Seemed like a scam organized and promoted by who…?
    Much Earlier my furnace boiler was RedTagged. That had a problem, and $7000 fixed that.

    Gov’t bureaucracy sent me immediately brochures about shredded wood (not pellet) systems for homes.
    Was cumbersome, and troublesome – like the systems in the schools – except schools have people who can unclog it. No pricing offerred, but it did need a huge indoor bin.
    No other system was being promoted
    The brochure listed first Bourne’s Energy for the systems and these shredded wood products.
    I believe an old poorly supported outdoor tank might be a problem, but heated indoor tanks -NOT
    As i published this earlier, others have told me of inspection costs over $10,000

  4. Don’t be surprised to see an avalanche of defective oil tanks identified as the “inspectors” search Vermont for faulty tanks…….Vermonters will be required to replace these tanks at an accumulative cost of millions of dollars.

    Now, how will the Global Warming Solution Act’s Council of 23 Experts treat all these new oil tanks along with new efficient furnaces that have been installed in recent years as they make rules to end the use of fossil fuels?

    In it’s zeal to cure the planet of global warming, will the Council of 23 Experts tell homeowners that before being able to sell or transfer ownership their homes or businesses that all oil and gas furnaces along with these new oil tanks will have to be replaced at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars with heat pumps or some other expensive form of non-fossil fuel heating?

    Hopefully, the legislature will take the time to re-consider what they have set loose with the GWSA and the myriad of unintended consequences that will surely follow……Starting will the problem of replacing leaking oil tanks.

  5. This sounds like an emergency in my opinion.
    There are many people desperately poor right now that will not be able to deal with this situation.
    Can some of the covid relief funds be used to solve this problem for the people that have been effected by that- and that is the reason they are so broke now.
    How about someone try and get some oils barrels in volume at a wholesale price and see what they can get for donations for that. Add in some covid relief funds, and get these installed at qualifying homes.
    Some outta the box thinking is now needed fast.

    Seems like common sense to me.
    Fix this situation for the people or else be ready to deal with deaths and lawsuits as a results.. the elderly cannot live without heat. Young children can’t either..

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