Solid Waste Authorities are struggling to meet recycling and litter control needs. The West Virginia DEP is struggling to close landfills in a timely manner that protects the environment. To fund these programs, waste is charged $3.50 per ton when it is “tipped” into a landfill. Currently about 1/3 of that funding goes to the solid waste authority, while 2/3 goes to the landfill closure program. Senate Bill 147 would have shifted revenue from the Landfill Closure Assistance Program (LCAP) to the solid waste authorities, to provide for local waste reduction programs. The only problem? This would cut the DEP’s revenue for closing landfills by 28.6% per year, thus prolonging the process of closing landfills that pose a danger to communities and natural resources.
After much deliberation and questioning about drawing down this fund in Senate Finance, the WV DEP proposed to raise the tonnage fee to $4.50. This increase would satisfy both state and local needs; indeed helping 17 solid waste authorities institute recycling programs and preventing the delay of capping landfills. The West Virginia Environmental Council has been keeping tabs on this bill and working with stakeholders to protect our State. Senate Bill 147 will be on Second Reading on the Senate Floor, Monday.