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General Assembly halts DNR commission’s hazardous waste generator fee hike

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The General Assembly put a stop to a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) commission’s plan to increase certain hazardous waste generator fees

Both the House and Senate approved a concurrent resolution last week which disapproved of the Hazardous Waste Management Commission’s recommendation to raise the fees of generators for hazardous waste for 2021 and 2022. SCR 38, from Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, has been signed by both the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem. 

“This common-sense measure passed because legislators need a full accounting from departments that raise fees,” O’Laughlin told The Missouri Times. “We are the people’s voice and fee increases can be backdoor tax increases. This measure guarantees we will receive information necessary for the oversight we are charged to uphold.” 

The commission’s plan was to raise registration fees to be capped at $1,150 for large quantity generators, $360 for small quantity generators, and $175 for those considered to be “conditionally exempt small quantity generators.” The rules also stipulated that an owner must pay the difference if a generator changes status to one with a higher registration fee. 

As it stands now, large quantity generators have a registration fee of $500. Small quantity generators, as well as conditionally exempt small quantity generators both, have a registration fee of $150. Small quantity and conditionally exempt small quantity generators that upgrade to a large quantity size must pay a $350 fee.

The fee increase was approved by the Hazardous Waste Management Commission in November, but the General Assembly had the authority to disapprove of the proposal within 60 days of the legislative session. 

DNR “is developing an emergency rulemaking to remove the proposed temporary increase,” the department said in an email. It will also “continue to evaluate the funding situation.” 

A hazardous waste generator is a business, site, or person that produces solid waste considered to be hazardous. Certain regulations for generators are based on the volume each generator produces per month; in Missouri, a person is subjected to state regulations if 100 kg of non-acute hazardous waste, 1 kg of acutely hazardous waste, or 100 kg of a combination of the two is accrued.

Missouri has more than 2,600 units that fall under the hazardous waste generator umbrella, including: 443 large quantity generators, 1,422 small quantity generators, and 536 conditionally exempt small quantity generators. There are also 189 hazardous waste transporters and 13 treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, according to DNR

The commission has said the fee increase in 2021 and 2022 was meant to offset “a shortfall in funding” beginning in 2022 and allow oversight of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitting, inspection, and enforcement to remain under DNR instead of the federal government. 

If the General Assembly did not block the proposal, it would have been set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021 with businesses required to pay the new fees by the end of the year.