Missouri legislature passes bill protecting property rights, environment – Newstalk KZRG

Missouri legislature passes bill protecting property rights, environment – Newstalk KZRG

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House has truly agreed HBs 2134 & 1956 by a vote of 155-1, thereby sending it to Governor Mike Parson’s desk for his consideration. The comprehensive legislation will regulate the land application of industrial wastewater, sludge, and related process wastes. The bill successfully passed the House and Senate with overwhelming support, underscoring a united and bipartisan commitment to safeguarding water resources and property rights in Missouri.

Sponsored by State Representative Dirk Deaton, HBs 2134 & 1956 seeks to protect property rights and the water resources of the state from misapplication, over application, and improper storage of certain food industry wastes. This bipartisan initiative gained support from both rural and urban lawmakers as well as environmental and agricultural groups alike.

Under the legislation, waste disposal companies intending to construct storage lagoons for animal byproducts would be required to conduct tests on waste for heavy metals and pathogens, and other pollutants. Additionally, the bill mandates the installation of groundwater monitoring wells where needed to prevent any material seepage into water bodies. Notably, large animal feeding operations, and other agricultural operations are exempt from these provisions, as there are already regulations and permitting requirements in place for those entities.

Originating from complaints in southwest and central Missouri, residents have expressed concerns about the odor and environmental hazards associated with the storage and spreading of waste material from meat processing and various other food related industries. The bill focuses on addressing the exploitation of a loophole by waste disposal companies, affecting both the environment and the agriculture industry, while emphasizing the need for a minimum regulatory framework and appropriate land application of certain materials.

“We’re really just clarifying that, fertilizer license or no fertilizer license, this material has to be subject to a Department of Natural Resources permit, much like it is in virtually every other state in the union that would ensure that best practices are followed,” Deaton, R-Noel, said. “It is not our desire to take this tool out of the toolbox; some of these materials can be helpful and beneficial to our farmers, and we certainly don’t want to stand in the way of that. But what we don’t want to see is Missourians’ property rights being violated or abused as a result of over application events we have observed.”

The bill also introduces a nutrient management standard overseen by the Department of Natural Resources, emphasizing responsible land application. Moreover, it restricts the Clean Water Commission from exempting entities from water pollution permits unless engaged in the sale of commercial fertilizer.

As the bill now sits on Governor Parson’s desk, its positive reception in the House and Senate signals a promising step forward in fortifying Missouri’s commitment to clean water and sustainable environmental practices while maintaining a balanced approach on conservation, agriculture, and business needs. The bill now awaits Governor Mike Parson’s signature making the legislation law, or his veto which would return the bill to the General Assembly.

Representative Dirk Deaton represents McDonald and Newton counties (District 159) in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was elected to his first two-year term in November 2018 and re-elected in 2020 and 2022. For more information, please contact Rep. Deaton’s office at 573-751-9801 or by email at [email protected].

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