Who wants more hazardous waste in Alabama?

hazardous_waste_caution_signConservation-related legislation will be put to the test this week.

At least eight conservation bills could see action in committee meetings Wednesday or on the floor of House or Senate. Three of those bills are subjects of public hearings in committee meetings.

The most pressing is HB181, a bi-partisan effort to reduce the fees hazardous waste haulers have to pay to dump their dangerous chemicals at the Emelle hazardous waste facility. Currently, the state-based fee is $21.60 per ton, but the legislation would reduce that to $10 per ton, a more than 50 percent decrease. In a time when budgets are tight, this fee change will reduce funding for the Alabama Department of Public Health’s hazardous waste programs. It is also likely to spur more hazardous waste to be brought into Alabama by truck, train, and boat. Hundreds of thousands of tons of hazardous waste have been brought from all over the country and internationally to Emelle over the last three decades.

One of Conservation Alabama’s priority legislation, the Historic Tax Credit bill, is up for a public hearing Wednesday. The bill will spur reinvestment in historic downtowns and neighborhoods by providing an income tax credit for those who invest in and redevelop historic properties. By supporting reinvestment in historic town centers, the state will be encouraging more walkable communities that are healthier for the public, economy, and environment in the state.

Additionally, two bills that would provide tax credits for compressed-natural gas (CNG) vehicles and for hybrid vehicles will be subject to public hearings Wednesday as well. These bills are part of a package of bills being pushed by the legislature’s joint energy committee.

You can follow legislation related to the environment each week on Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at conservationalabama.org.

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