2010 Missouri General Assembly
The 2010 legislative session wrapped up on May 14. There were some good results from this session as well as some setbacks. Although many environmental bills fell by the wayside during this session, several significant pieces of legislation either passed or failed. The following is a summary of the significant legislation relating to the environment, energy and agriculture addressed during this session. Summaries and the complete text of these bills can be examined on the Missouri General Assembly website by clicking on the bill numbers.
HB 1692 - Passed: Included as part of this bill is the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation, which allows municipalities to offer financing plans to fund loans to home owners and businesses for energy efficiency upgrades to their properties with competitive loans. These loans would be paid back to the municipalities through property taxes over a 20 year period.
HB 2343 - Failed: This was the second attempt in two years to repeal the CWIP (Construction Work in Progress) law. Repealing that law would have allowed electric utilities to charge their customers for certain construction costs of new generating plants during the construction process. The CWIP law protects consumers from paying for unneeded generating capacity and also protects them from paying some of the costs should the construction of new generating plants never be completed. Ameren, the electric utility in St. Louis and much of eastern Missouri, is trying to get the law repealed so they can build a new nuclear generator next to their existing Callaway plant and pass some of the costs on to consumers during construction. Ameren claims they cannot obtain financing unless CWIP is repealed.
HB 1851 - Failed: This bill would have added nuclear energy to the definition of "renewable energy resources" so that nuclear energy could be used to meet the requirements of investor-owned electric utilities under the Renewable Energy Standard. This would have undermined Proposition C, passed by Missouri voters by a two to one margin. Proposition C did not list nuclear as a renewable energy source.
SB 795 - Passed: The Agriculture Omnibus Bill includes a provision which adds methane generated from agricultural operations, to include farm animal wastes, as a renewable energy source. This was also not included as a renewable energy source in Proposition C. This will allow methane derived from CAFO operations to be considered a renewable energy source.
On the bright side, language was removed from SB 795 which would have preempted local control and stopped the General Assembly from passing state CAFO standards.
HB 1848 - Passed: This bill creates the Joint Committee on Urban Farming. The committee will study and make recommendations regarding the impact of urban farm cooperatives, vertical farming and sustainable living communities. The committee will also examine trends in urban farming, existing resources and capacity, impact on affected communities and any needed legislation, policies or regulations.
Other Environmental Legislation
HB 2109 - Failed: This bill included language that would have extended the Clean Water Commissions ability to charge for permit fees. The fees fund the state's water pollution program and this failure to extend them will be a $4 million dollar hit to their budget. Senator Brad Lager blocked all forward movement on this bill.
HCR 46 - Passed: These are not bills, but resolutions from both the Missouri senate and house, urging the US Congress not to enact cap and trade legislation. The house version also urges the EPA to rescind its formal endangerment finding on greenhouse gasses.