Environmental & Energy Law

SS#2 SCS HCS HB 89 – Natural resources Changes numerous laws relating to natural resources.  Includes provisions relating to:

STATE GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY (Section 37.970, RSMo) Specifies that it must be the policy of each department of the state to carry out its duties with full transparency to the public and any data collected must be available to the public in a timely fashion with reports and other information being easily accessible to the public.  Each department must broadly interpret any request for information under the Open Meetings and Records Law, and must respond accordingly regardless of the format in which the request is made.  Any failure to release information will be considered a policy violation and constitute a breach of the public’s trust.

ESTABLISHES A COUNTY DRINKING WATER SUPPLY LAKE AUTHORITY IN SULLIVAN COUNTY (Sections 67.4500 -67.4520)

REAL-TIME BACTERIAL WATER QUALITY TESTING (Section 192.1250)  The Department of Health and Senior Services must examine the feasibility of implementing a real-time water quality testing system for measuring the bacterial water quality at state-owned public beaches and must issue a report of its findings to the General Assembly by December 31, 2011.

PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY DISTRICTS BOARD OF DIRECTORS (Section 247.060) Includes various provisions relating to compensation of Board members.
Specifies that the circuit court of the county having jurisdiction over the district is authorized to:
(a)  Suspend any member from exercising his or her office when it appears that the member has abused his or her trust or become disqualified;
(b)  Remove any member upon proof or conviction of gross misconduct or disqualification for his or her office; or
(c)  Restrain and prevent any alienation of property of the district by members in certain specified cases; and

Specifies that the jurisdiction conferred by these provisions must be exercised upon petition by any member or at the instance of any 10 voters residing in the district who join in the petition.  The petition must be heard in a summary manner after 10 days’ written notice to the member or officer who is the subject of the complaint.

STATE PARKS EARNINGS FUND (Section 253.090)
Provides them any moneys remaining in the State Parks Earnings Fund at the end of the biennium will not revert to the credit of the General Revenue Fund.

PRIVATE LANDOWNER PROTECTION ACT (Section 442.014) The Private Landowner Protection Act is established which allows for the creation and enforcement of conservation easements designed to protect the environment or preserve certain historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural aspects of real property.  An easement may be created, conveyed, recorded, assigned, released, modified, terminated, or otherwise altered or affected in the same manner as other easements; and a court may modify or terminate an easement based on the principles of law and equity.

An existing real property interest is not affected by a conservation easement unless the owner is a party to the easement or consents to it.  A conservation easement will be valid in a number of situations that are specified in the bill which are not recognized by common law.  Retroactive application is mandated to the extent allowed by state and federal law but cannot place any additional burden or obligation on any grantor or grantee, or on their successors, of a conservation easement.

MINING PERMITS (Sections 444.771 and 444.773)
The Department of Natural Resources and the Land Reclamation Commission in the department are prohibited from issuing a surface mining or a water or air quality permit to any person whose mine plan boundary is within 1,000 feet of any property where an accredited school has been located for at least five years prior to the permit application.  This provision does not apply to a request for an expansion to an existing mine or to any underground mining operation.

Currently, the commission may deny a surface mining permit if it finds in any hearing, based on competent and substantial scientific evidence, that the interested party’s health, safety, or livelihood would be unduly impaired by the issuance of the permit.  The bill specifies that it must be in a public hearing and removes the provision placing the burden of proof on the permit applicant.

CLEANFIELDS RENEWABLE ENERGY DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS (Section 620.2300) An owner of a park consisting of at least 50 contiguous acres in which the property is subject to remediation under a clean-up program supervised by the Department of Natural Resources or the United States Environmental Protection Agency may seek to establish a clean fields renewable energy demonstration project by submitting an application to the Department of Economic Development for certification of the project. 

ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING COMMISSION (Section 621.250) Specifies that the party must be aggrieved or adversely affected by the finding, order, decision, or assessment in order to file an appeal of a finding, order, decision or assessment by a state regulatory environmental commission with the Administrative Hearing Commission.

Currently, the commission has discretion on whether or not to hold a hearing on an appeal request.  The bill requires the commission to hold a hearing and make a recommended decision within 60 days of the date of the request or make a recommended decision within the 60-day period based on the stipulation of the parties, consent order, or agreed settlement or by the disposition in the nature of default judgment,  judgment on the pleadings, or summary determination.  The commission must issue its final decision on an appeal of a decision by the Director of the Department of Natural Resources within 90 days of the date the notice of appeal is filed.  Prohibits a cause of action or appeal arising out of a finding, order, decision, or assessment of a state regulatory environmental commission from accruing in any court unless the party has already filed a notice of appeal with the Administrative Hearing Commission and received a final decision from the environmental commission in accordance with these provisions.

ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS (Section 640.018) In any case in which the Department of Natural Resources has not issued a permit or made a permit decision by the expiration of a statutorily required time frame, the permit must be issued as of the first day following the expiration if all the necessary information has been submitted for the application and the department has had the information for the duration of the required time frame.

All engineering plans, specifications, and designs prepared by a registered professional engineer that are submitted to the department as part of a permit application or modification must include a statement that the plans, specifications, and designs were prepared in accordance with all applicable requirements and must be sealed by the registered professional engineer.

The department must designate a supervisory registered professional engineer for permitting purposes in environmental programs.  Any applicant receiving written comments on an engineering submittal may request a determination from the department’s supervisory engineer as to a final disposition of the department’s comments.  The supervisory engineer must inform the applicant of a preliminary decision within 15 days of the request and must make a final determination within 30 days.

These requirements cannot be construed to require plans or other submittal to the department that come under a general permit or an application for a site specific permit to be prepared by a registered professional engineer unless otherwise required by state or federal law.

NOTIFICATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH RISKS (Section 640.128) The Department of Natural Resources must immediately notify the local public health authority and the Department of Health and Senior Services if it receives water quality test results voluntarily conducted and submitted by a permitted entity that indicate a potential risk to public health.

ASBESTOS AND AIR QUALITY (Sections 643.020 - 643.080, 643.191, 643.225, 643.232, 643.237, and 643.240 - 643.250)
(1)  Authorizes the commission or its authorized representative to enter upon any public or private property having material information relevant to an air contaminant source; 
(2)  Adds renovation or demolition projects to the list of projects that the commission has authority to require corrective measures be taken to protect public health and the environment as it relates to asbestos abatement;
(3)  Removes the exemption from certain state asbestos requirements for asbestos certification and registration, including the $250 exemption application fee, for certain persons who are subject to EPA and OSHA asbestos regulations;
(4)  Reduces from at least 20 working days to at least 10 working days the period of time that a person must submit an application to the department in advance of an asbestos abatement or demolition project.  Contents of the application are specified; and
(5)  Requires the analysis of asbestos air samples to be conducted according to EPA or OSHA standards.  Currently, the analysis must be conducted according to OSHA standards.

JUDICIAL REVIEW (Sections 643.130 and 644.071) Any action seeking judicial review of a final decision made by the Air Conservation Commission, the Clean Water Commission, or the Director of the Department of Natural Resources must be filed in a court of appeals instead of a circuit court.

Also includes provisions relating to:

CLEAN WATER NOTICE REQUIREMENTS AND FEES (Sections 644.036 and 644.054)

CLEAN WATER COMMISSION PERMITS AND APPEALS (Section 644.051)

AFFORDABILITY DETERMINATIONS (Section 644.145) The Department of Natural Resources must make a determination regarding the affordable to communities and their residents of permit requirements and other department decisions related to combined or separate sanitary sewer systems or publicly owned treatment works.

PRIVATE SEPTIC SYSTEMS (Sections 701.033 and 701.058) The Department of Health and Senior Services is authorized to provide technical assistance, guidance and oversight to a local authority that administers and enforces individual onside sewage disposal system standards. 

The provisions of the bill contain a nonseverability clause.

The bill contains an emergency clause for provisions regarding state department transparency, county drinking water supply lake authority, real-time bacterial water quality testing, State Parks Earnings Fund, mining permits, clean fields renewable energy demonstration projects, environmental permits, notification of public health risks, consolidation of state services, judicial review, clean water notice requirements and fees, Clean Water Commission permits and appeals, affordability determinations on sanitary sewer systems, private septic systems, and the Missouri Energy Task Force. (Signed 7/11/11)

HCS HB 250 – Water well regulations. Specifies that any water system that exclusively serves a charitable or benevolent organization will be exempt from all rules relating to well construction except those applying to a multifamily well unless the well or pump installation for the well is determined to present a threat to groundwater or public health.  Certain exemptions apply.

No facility can be required to replace, change, upgrade, or alter an existing well constructed prior to August 28, 2011, unless the well is determined to be a threat to groundwater or public health or contains certain contaminant levels. (Signed 6/22/11)

CCS SS SCS HCS HB 430 – Transportation (See Transportation Law)

SCS HCS HB 578 – Disposal of used tires. Allows the state or any political subdivision or agency of the state to transfer possession and ownership of used tires, scrap tires, or tire shred to any in-state private entity to be lawfully disposed of or recycled if the tires or shred are not burned as fuel, except in a permitted facility, or disposed of in a landfill. (Signed 6/8/11)

CCS HCS SS SB 135 – Environmental protections Changes the laws regarding environmental protections.

Includes provisions relating to State Parks Earnings Fund (Section 253.090, RSMo); Battery and hazardous waste fees (Sections 260.262, 260.380, and 260.475); Disposal of used tires (Section 260.269); Dry-cleaning facilities (Section 260.965); Coolers on rivers and waterways (Section 306.109); An underground petroleum storage tank operator training program (Section 319.130); Motor fuel tax (Section 319.132); Motor fuel measuring devices (Section 414.072 and Section 1); Water well regulations (section 640.116); and Environmental permits (Section 640.905)

The bill contains an emergency clause for the provisions regarding the State Parks Earnings Fund, and the battery and hazardous waste fees. (Signed 6/22/11)

 

Index of Bills by Subject Matter

Key
  • CCS - Conference Committee Substitute
  • HB - House Bill
  • HCS - House Committee Substitute
  • HS - House Substitute
  • HJR - House Joint Resolution
  • SB - Senate Bill
  • SCS - Senate Committee Substitute
  • SS - Senate Substitute
  • SJR - Senate Joint Resolution
  • * - Missouri Bar Committee-Drafted Legislation