Currently, there are several bills in the state of Missouri that will impact sustainability within the state. As this is a longer post, I will detail the bill and then tell you why you should care.
HB 220 and 835, SB 72: Windy City, County, and State!
According to the Missouri Sierra Club, these bills will allow rural counties to benefit from taxes produced by wind energy. This specifically impacts Investor Owned Utilities (IOU). IOUs are owned by shareholders or investors, as compared to Publicly Owned Utilities (POU), which are typically controlled by a local body of the government. ” These bills allow all counties that host IOU wind infrastructure to receive full property tax compensation for the infrastructure within their
borders,” (Sierra Club).
Why should I care?
Missouri’s grid is dirty, y’all! While the reliance of coal has fallen 22% from 2011-2016, we still rely on it for a majority of our needs. These bills encourage more wind energy production in rural Missouri, and allow Missouri citizens to benefit from wind energy on their land.
SB 391: Not in My Backyard!
SB 391 strips local county’s ability to create ordinances protecting the health and wellness of it’s citizens against factory farming, or what the state calls Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOS)–doesn’t that sound nice?! According to the Missouri Sierra Club, “without local ordinances CAFOS can spread waste right up to property lines, homes, and water sources.” In layman terms, that means a river of shit can run through your neighborhood.
Why Should I Care?
Whether you eat meat or not, we should all care how meat is produced in this country. Personally, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect that everyone will be a vegetarian or vegan, so we need to address how animals are raised and slaughtered. The ability for communities to be able to restrict CAFOS exists for good reason–communities deserve the right to protect their health and property values. And what affects one, affects us all.
According to St. Louis’ Office of Sustainability, St. Louis gets 150 million gallons of water from the Missouri River every day. If these CAFOS are allowed to exist close to the Missouri River, that affects our drinking water.
Finally, more than 168 gases are emitted from CAFOS including methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide (Sierra Club Michigan). Polluted air caused by CAFOS can cause rare blood diseases, dizziness, headache, nausea, and and burning eyes (just to name a few).
HB271: The Ban on the Plastic Bag Ban
HB271 is an expansion of a bill that passed in 2015. The original bill does not allow communities to ban plastic or paper bags. The new (return of the ban ban) expands this to food containers, bottles, and cups, and anything plastic it seems.
Sit down for this. The person behind the return of the ban, Dan Shaul (R-Imperial) is Executive State Director for the Missouri Grocers Association. No conflict there!
Sadly, this bill recently passed through the Local Government Committee in a completely partisan manner–all Republicans voted in favor of the expanded ban on bans and all Democrats voted against.
Why You Should Care?
Simply put, local governments and communities should have the ability to exercise their ability to limit waste when the state government and country will not enact laws protecting the environment.
Are you mad? Great! Contact your local representative and tell them you want them to uphold a community’s right to limit unsafe practices that hurt the environment! Look up your legislator and send them your thoughts!