Changes coming for air quality permit fees
April 9, 2015
The House Ways and Means Committee passed House Study Bill 219 with an amendment on Wednesday. The amendment to HSB 219 establishes a framework for the Department of Natural Resources to begin collecting fees, once the Environmental Protection Commission approves, on construction-permit-related activities at the air quality bureau. Currently, the state of Iowa only collects fees on the emissions from major facilities. Due to reduced emissions, the fees collected have decreased and the DNR has a budget problem. A legislatively-mandated stakeholder group met last summer and fall to develop a proposal for the legislature to review. The amendment addresses recommendations made by the stakeholders, with the exception the Legislature does not have the $2 million in appropriations to provide to air quality. In summary the amendment does the following:
- Establishes a Title V Operating permit application fee. Fees collected cannot be computed to exceed $1.25 million annually.
- Establishes a cap on Title V fees collected of $8.25 million.
- Establishes a new air quality fund for major, minor and asbestos programs.
- Caps the total fees computed for major sources at $1.5 million
- Caps the total fees computed for minor sources at $250,000
- Caps the total fees computed for asbestos notifications at $450,000
- Requires the DNR to hold annual stakeholder meetings for each of the funds.
- Clearly states what fees can/cannot be used for.
- Allows the DNR to start collecting fees January 1, 2016
In the Senate, Senate File 488 has passed both the Natural Resources & Environment and Ways and Means committees. The same amendment that passed House Ways and Means has been filed in the Senate and will likely be debated on the Senate floor early next week.
A link to the amendment is available here. The Department of Natural Resources has also put together a draft budget under the scenario mentioned above. A link to the document can be found here. Read more in our March Environment Committee Newsletter.