Environmental, Energy, and Water Law Blog
ARKANSAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY UPDATE: BILL PROPOSED TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY CAN USE FROM THE SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AND RECYCLING FUND
Author: Walter G. Wright
House Bill 1215 was recently introduced. The Subtitle of the bill states its purpose is to:
To reduce the maximum amount of money in the Solid Waste Management and Recycling Fund that the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality may use for administrative purposes.
Specifically, it amends Ark. Code Â§ 8-6-605(a)(3) concerning the Solid Waste Management and Recycling Fund ("Fund") to change from 25 to 5% the moneys received annually into the previously referenced Fund that can be used by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality ("ADEQ") for administration of the solid waste management and recycling program and for solid waste management compliance and enforcement activities at landfills and open dumps.
I assume that such a reduction in funds would adversely affect the ability of the ADEQ Solid Waste Management Division ("Division") to fund employees' salaries. It is my understanding that the previously referenced Fund currently supports 18 employees, including the Solid Waste Management Division Chief. In other words, since the Division employs 35 employees, funding for almost Â½ would be eliminated. This would presumably be particularly problematic since traditionally the state solid waste management and recycling activities receive little or no federal grant funding (as opposed to air, water, etc.)
The impact of the loss would be to employees, would presumably affect a number of segments and aspects of solid waste management and recycling in the state of Arkansas. I assume that the agency's ability to review landfill permits and modifications would be impacted, including approval time. Further, the Division has almost a twenty year history of promoting recycling and marketing of recyclables through its Marketing Development/Recycling Branch. These employees' salaries are apparently funded from this Fund.
A number of commercial and/or industrial facilities that are either currently or are considering requiring recycling equipment or machinery may be adversely affected by the loss of personnel who administer the Arkansas Recycling Tax Credit Program. This program has arguably been extremely successful in enticing various facilities to acquire machinery or equipment to collect, sort, process or consume solid waste. The employees that administer the recycling grants and e-waste grants positions would also be eliminated. A similar impact would presumably fall on the Waste Tire Grant Program.
Finally, because additional federal funds are unlikely, I have no idea how the agency would raise the additional funds to support these employees.
A copy of the proposed bill can be downloaded below.