March 20, 2012
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Ozark Rivers board oppose Senate bill that would change current solid waste legislation
ST. JAMES—The Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) recently approved a resolution in opposition to the proposed Senate Bill 849, which would freeze the tipping fee that funds recycling grants, re-allocates solid waste district funds and ultimately removes recycling emphasis from the present law.
The board approved the resolution during its meeting March 6 at the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC).
Board members addressed several points of opposition to SB 849 within the resolution, including removing the sunset requirement on the cap placed on the solid waste tipping fee. As originally written, the tipping fee paid on each ton of land filled increased by the rate of inflation. When the economy took a downturn, the inflation adjustment was frozen until 2014. The proposed legislation would permanently “freeze” the rate at its present rate without any adjustments in the future. By freezing the tipping fee forever, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the legislature would be limited in effectively coordinating solid waste management programs throughout the state and at the local level, the resolution stated.
The board opposed the bill’s re-allocation of 10 percent of district funds to DNR. Board members agreed that this re-allocation would provide additional funding for a state agency at the expense of local governments and local programs.
Finally, the resolution stated the board’s opposition to removing references in the original law concerning recycling. The board wanted to ensure the legislation maintained its emphasis on the importance of recycling and waste reduction, including the existing goal of reducing the volume of waste being landfilled in the state by 40 percent.
The resolution will be sent to area legislators and Gov. Jay Nixon. Board members approved a motion to include an overview of how ORSWMD positively impacts the Meramec Region.
In other business, Nongluk Tunyavanich, environmental programs specialist, updated the board on district grant programs.
Board members approved closing out completed 2011 grant projects including a household hazardous waste satellite collection, the City of Rolla’s recycling bins and recycling exhibit and the Phelps County Tough on Trash program.
Tunyavanich also noted upcoming tire collections and special waste collections and said the deadline to submit projects for the district’s annual Earth Day poster and trash art contest is March 30. Contest judging will occur April 10 and winners will receive earth-friendly gifts and have their art displayed at the Rolla Earth Day celebration April 20.
Staff also pointed out that the ORSWMD website, www.orzarkrivers.org, is live for public access, however, the site is still under construction.
The full Ozark Rivers council will meet at 10 a.m. May 8 at MRPC. Meetings are open to the public.
The Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. The district's strategy for solid waste reduction, which has been individually adopted by all member governments and approved by Missouri Department of Natural Resources, involves intense education and increased recycling efforts in member counties and cities.