(1) The Legislature restates the declaration of legislative purpose as set forth in section 81-1501 that the public policy of this state is hereby declared to be:
(a) To conserve the water in this state and to protect and improve the quality of water for human consumption, wildlife, fish and other aquatic life, industry, recreation, and other productive, beneficial uses;
(b) To achieve and maintain a reasonable degree of purity of the natural atmosphere of this state that human beings and all other animals and plants which are indigenous to this state will flourish in approximately the same balance as they have in recent history and to adopt and promulgate laws, rules, and regulations and to uniformly enforce the same in such a manner as to give meaningful recognition to the protection of each element of the environment, air, water, and land; and
(c) To cooperate with other states and the federal government to accomplish the objectives set forth in the Environmental Protection Act.
(2) The Legislature finds that the number of leaking petroleum storage tanks throughout the state is increasing and that there exists a serious threat to the health and safety of citizens because petroleum contained in leaking storage tanks is a potential land and ground water contaminant and major fire and explosive hazard. Furthermore, owners of petroleum tanks may not have the ability to assess and clean up any releases from those petroleum tanks.
(3) The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public interest that a distribution network for petroleum be available to the public in the State of Nebraska. It is essential in this state to encourage owners of petroleum tanks across the state to remain in business to maintain the viability of the distribution network. At the present time, meeting financial responsibility requirements imposed by the federal government has placed a burden on the owners of petroleum tanks that jeopardizes their ability to store and distribute petroleum and to remain a part of the distribution network.