From this week’s House Republican Newsletter:
Environmental Panel Okays City Residential Trash Burn Ban Measure
On Monday, March 2, 2009, the House Environmental Protection Committee passed House Study Bill 90 on a party-line 12-aye to 9-nay vote. HSB 90 is a complete ban of residential waste open burning in any municipality across the state. The bill directs DNR to devise and adopt administrative rules to implement a phased-in-ban of the burning of residential waste (which includes landscape materials incorporated areas of cities. The phase-in would start in 2010 (January 1) and apply to any city with a population larger than 2,500. The phase-in would ratchet down in subsequent years with the threshold dropping to city over 1,000 on January 1, 2011; 500 or more on January 1, 2012; and starting on January 1, 2013 any city in the state. The bill was amended in Committee with unanimous support to delete application of the ban to the adjoining unincorporated area within one-quarter of a mile of a city limit. The ban includes burning leaves despite the fact that cities already have the ability to ban leaf burning.
It also allows certain burning activities within cities associated with: (1) agricultural farming activities, (2) natural resources rejuvenative purposes such as proscribed prairies and woodland fires, (3) natural disaster rubbish/debris resulting from a disaster which the Governor has issued proclamation pursuant to Iowa Code section 29.C, and (4) tree and tree trimming open burning by a city at a designated and supervised site. The adopted amendment also removed language in the original bill that would have made it a criminal offense and instead allows for civil penalties.
Opponents to this legislation expressed concerns that this legislation will:
- impose significant new garbage collection fees on homeowners who live in some of our most income limited communities;
- increase hauling costs and inconvenience for homeowners who take their own residential waste to landfills that may serve their area which in many cases may be more than 20 to 30-miles one way trip because of recent closure of many landfill in the past two years;
- further usurp local control over local matters by the state;
- likely create perverse consequence of pushing some communities to considering disincorporation in order to avoid being subject to this law; and
- incur even more costly unintended consequence of creating more incentive for person to midnight (illegally) dump in or near small communities in order avoid solid waste pick up charges, or result in residential debris accumulations in communities with limited means of effective enforcement.