A red and blue legislature shows hints of green
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 17:51
We can each do our part to minimize our impact on the natural world, but our society is confronted with environmental challenges that are too vast for us to overcome individually. With this in mind, I would like to acknowledge some of the positive environmental efforts Missouri politicians made this session.
If you see a bill you are passionate about, contact your representatives and urge that action be taken during the next legislative session!
Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (Senate Bill 376), signed into law July 13, 2009
Key Players: Senator Brad Lager (R-12), Senator Victor Callahan (D-11)
What it does: This law encourages the state's investor-owned electric utilities to lessen their environmental impact by implementing energy-efficiency programs. These programs, such as solar photovoltaic and wind power, must meet approval by the Public Service Commission, result in energy savings, and help the customer. If the program meets these standards, the utility will now be able to implement and recover a portion of the costs. In short, the Energy Efficiency Investment Act gives utilities an economic incentive to become more energy-efficient. Before this law passed, the most profitable way for a utility to meet increased demand would have been by building a new power plant. Now, it is at least equally profitable for the utility to meet increased demand by increasing efficiency.
Night Sky Protection Act (House Bill 457)
Key Players: Representative Jason Holsman (D-45), Representative Jason Grill (D-32)
What it would do: This bill would require that the Air Conservation Commission issue voluntary guidelines to regulate light pollution near protected places. These protected places would include national wilderness areas, some state parks and historic sites, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, and military training areas. The first goal would be that no night sky be more than twice its natural brightness by 2025. By 2055, 90 percent of these protected places would be no more than 10 percent its natural brightness. This bill was referred to the House Conservation and Natural Resources Department in May.
Missouri Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 (House Bill 470)
Key Players: Representative Beth Low (D-39), Representative Jason Holsman (D-45)
What it would do: If passed, this bill would create a timeline for Air Conservation Commission to achieve "the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2023." The first deliverable would be to publish a list of early-action emissions measures by July 2010. The bill would also make violating any of the emissions regulations a class A misdemeanor. In May, the Global Warming Solutions Act was referred to the House Energy and Environment Committee.
Television Electronic Recycling Act (Senate Bill 364)
Key Players: Senator Dan Clemens (R-20)
What it would do: This act, which is on the Formal Calendar of Senate Bills for Perfection, would require television manufacturers who sell televisions in Missouri to register with the state's Department of Natural Resources. Beginning in 2012, these manufacturers would have to recycle a certain number of discarded televisions based on the amount they sold in the state during the previous year. Retailers would be responsible for giving the consumer the necessary information regarding the collection and recycling services. Retailers would also only be able to sell televisions made by manufacturers who are registered with the DNR. The bill also grants the DNR the authority to fine violators.
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