Local News Spotlight

Missouri water protection funds are running out

Updated: 2013-02-24T02:10:43Z

The Associated Press

— Missouri’s ability to curb water pollution and monitor water quality could be in jeopardy as a state fee that helps fund the program is in danger of expiring.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that fees paid by businesses and municipalities for permission to discharge wastewater or divert storm runoff into Missouri rivers and streams are set to expire Sept. 1 unless they’re renewed by state lawmakers.

“You can’t continue to deficit spend, so resolution is going to have to be brought to this,” said Sen. Brad Lager, a Republican from Maryville. “My belief is that getting something resolved this session won’t be a problem.”

The Department of Natural Resources collects about $4 million a year in water permit fees.

The fees began in 1990 and comprise about a quarter of the budget for the water protection program.

In 2011, the legislature allowed these fees to expire.

A bill reauthorizing the fees passed, but it required the department’s director to sit down with industries and come up with a new fee structure.

That effort produced a draft report issued Nov. 30 that recommended fee increases for the first time since 2000 and would have raised enough additional revenue over the next four fiscal years to offset a projected $2.9 million annual deficit for the water program.

But in a final report to the legislature on Dec. 31, the department without explanation did not include the proposals to boost fees.

Deal Saver Subscribe today!

Comments

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here