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A $20.3 million payment backlog for cleaning up leaky underground petroleum tanks in Illinois could cost the state federal approval of the program. Payment delays have left some individual contractors with millions of dollars in unpaid bills for cleanups at 709 storage tank sites statewide, according to figures from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The Illinois Comptroller’s Office has no authority to pay the bills because of a state budget impasse. As a result, the U.S. EPA is threatening to cancel its approval of the Illinois program, which would force site owners to purchase private insurance or find other ways to pay for future cleanups, as reported by the State Journal Register.

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