Burning Ban Moves Forward

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:

  1. impose significant new garbage collection fees on homeowners who live in some of our most income limited communities;
  2. 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;
  3. further usurp local control over local matters by the state;
  4. likely create perverse consequence of pushing some communities to considering disincorporation in order to avoid being subject to this law; and
  5. 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.
  • Kim McConahay

    I am not in favor of the burn ban. I currently live in rural Polk County. I wouldn’t be surprised to be pulled into city limits in the next 5 years. Our yard is an acre – surrounded by willows. There is no way we could compost all the fallen branches or pay to have all the debris hauled away.
    This bill seems like the least of priorities right now and not well thought through.

  • Merlene

    I am in favor of a ban on burning. I have such a problem breathing when everyone decides to fire up anything they want to burn at any time. I realize that the big people with all the land are the only ones that matter or the government people that live is such a place that no one would ever dare to burn but I think it is time to realize that all the talk about doing what is good for everyone should start any time soon. Burning is a pollutant, hard on people with breathing problems of any kind and is a public nuisance of all kinds. Do you ever notice how the ones that are to lazy to take it to the landfills or dumps never burn when it goes into their own homes. Good neighbors do not exist anymore and caring poeple are nonexistant. Grow up, the world is about all people not just you and the government. If we are trying to save the world for the future then we all have to do it not just a few good people.