A number of environmental bills are expected to surface again this session, including proposals to scale back regulations on toxic material in dumps, limit safety advisories on drinking water and eliminate some vehicle emission inspections.
A study by the state Department of Environmental Quality this month recommends that the legislature consider repealing the ban on discarding computers and TVs in landfills. Manufacturers no longer would have to help pay for recycling that equipment, and more of the cost would fall on local governments.
The report defends the changes based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s determination that electronics can be safely disposed of in solid waste landfills, the study’s conclusion that electronics recycling is not cost-effective and the fact that electronics amount to only a tiny percentage of the solid waste generated each year.
Also expected to crop up is a bill that would make health advisories for drinking water consistent with federal law, including water from wells and public supplies. Some well owners who live near coal ash plants have been alarmed over receiving conflicting information from state health and environmental agencies. DEQ says the issue is broader than just neighbors of plants that produce coal ash.
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The agency is also recommending eliminating 31 counties from vehicle emission inspections as of next January, followed two years later by changing inspections in 17 additional counties to biennially, and gradually decreasing the number of vehicles subject to inspection. DEQ estimates those changes would save owners $57 million a year.