A Senate committee bill will allow the state to establish, assess, and collect fees associated with the federal Clean Air Act. The proposed legislation would grant new and wide-ranging powers to the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission, which may use the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ authority to enforce them.
Senate Study Bill 1222, offered by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment chaired by state Sen. Dick Dearden (D-Des Moines), would require the EPC to adopt rules that “establish a process that allows the commission to annually set air quality fees to be imposed and collected by” the DNR. It also creates an air quality fund with separate accounts financed by different air quality fees associated with the federal Clean Air Act.
The accounts are:
- Major Source Account – must be used to regulate major air contaminant sources under new source review programs.
- Minor Source Account – must be used to regulate minor air contaminant sources, or for providing alternatives for construction permits under minor source new source review programs.
- Asbestos Account – must be used to regulate the Asbestos National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants Program.
SSB 1222 also requires the EPC to adjust, as necessary, the air quality fees required to be credited to the three accounts “before the end of each fiscal year.” Under the proposed legislation, the DNR is prohibited from transferring funds between the three accounts, the fund earns interest, and monies credited to the fund may not be reverted to any other source.
Alliant Energy Corporation and the Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club are both in support of passage of the bill. The National Federation of Independent Business, the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, the Iowa Environmental Council (not to be confused with the EPC), the Kent Corporation, Manatts Inc., the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the Iowa Board of Regents, the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, BNSF Railway Company, the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association, the Iowa Propane Gas Association, NexEra Energy, the Iowa DNR, and Alcoa are all “undecided.”