State legislature works on bills dealing with environment

The Missouri State Senate Tuesday gave final approval to a list of new provisions on solid waste districts, and preliminary approval to legislation that would require the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to prepare implementation impact reports when submitting plans to the Environmental Protection Agency.

At the same time, the Missouri House of Representatives gave first round approval to a bill that would allow merchants to make a choice about providing plastic or paper bags to customers. The same  bill would also prohibit public entitities from imposing any ban, fee or tax upon the use of paper or plastic bags for packaging any item or good purchased.

Senate Bill 152, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Wallingford, (R-Cape Girardeau) among other things allows the State Auditor to seek reimbursement for solid waste management district audits, with proceeds deposited in a revolving trust fund. The bill also includes a definition of “solid waste management projects”, sets up the structure of the Solid Waste Advisory Board and extends the moratorium on increasing the demolition landfill tipping fee and the transfer station tipping fee from 2017 to 2027.

The bill passed the Senate on a 32-0 vote and now heads for the House.

Senate Bill 142, sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine (R-Farmington), seeks greater accountability from the Department of Natural Resources when it comes to communicating wit the federal Enviromental Protection Agency. The bill requires DNR when developing a state implementation plan, state plan, or non-point source management plan for submission to the Environmental Protection Agency, to prepare an implementation impact report in collaboration with certain other state entities. The report then would be delivered to the Governor, Joint Committee on Government Accountability, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives 60 days before the report is sent to the EPA. The report and plan must also be posted to the Department’s website homepage.

The bill also requires, that upon receiving the implementation impact report, the Joint Committee on Government Accountability is required to hold at least two public hearings to seek public comment on the plan and the report. The Joint Committee may also request that a representative from the Environmental Protection Agency attend at least one of the hearings.

SB142 received first round approval in the Senate…and faces another recorded vote before moving on to the House.

Later Tuesday, the Missouri House gave first round approval to a bill that would make it illegal for cities or counties to impose a ban, fee or tax or on the use of paper or plastic bags by retail stores. House Bill 722, sponsored by Rep. Dan Shaul, (R-Imperial), received final passage in the House 114-38 and now heads for the State Senate.