Iowa Environmental Council: Proposed bill could kill air quality program

Iowa lawmakers have introduced a bill that would block the Department of Natural Resources from raising fees for polluters to plug budget shortfalls and keep a federally mandated state air quality program operating.

House Study Bill 75 would cap the per-ton emissions fees charged to big emitters of air pollutants under Title V of the federal Clean Air Act. The bill would also prevent the DNR from finding other ways to offset that loss of income – like charging fees for new construction permits.

Lee Searles, air quality program director for the Iowa Environmental Council, says the impacts of HSB 75, if made into law, would probably make Iowa fall out of compliance with requirements of the federal Clean Air Act.

“That could lead to a loss of our state-friendly program and its replacement by federal agency authority,” he said.