Legislative Positions

MWA is an active participant in the discussion and solution of environmental issues that affect our communities and our state, both at the local level and at the State House. For more information on MWA's position on legislative issues, please contact Metro Waste Authority.

Require facilities that store, handle or process solid waste to have financial assurance in an amount sufficient for cleanup and final disposal of any materials accumulated at the facility and to provide for closure of the facility

Facilities that take in solid waste – with the exception of traditional curbside collected residential or commercial recyclable material that has been segregated from the municipal solid waste stream and separately collected for recycling – create a risk to the environment if that waste cannot be used as planned.  Recycling, reuse and waste conversion markets are volatile, and can go away quickly.  When that happens, facilities typically stockpile the waste in hopes that recycling, reuse or conversion markets will return and the materials can be sold again.  When markets don’t return, facilities are often abandoned by the owners and subsequent cleanup costs are borne by the local community and tax payers.  Sufficient financial assurance would ensure that cleanup costs would not become a burden for the local community and are the responsibility of the facility owner, as is already the case for Iowa’s landfill owners.

Oppose Any Amendments to the Environmental Management System for Solid Waste Management    

Do not change the Environmental Management System parameters approved as HF 2570 in 2008. The participants are a diverse mix of solid waste agencies from across the state. Their feedback, combined with that from an EMS Solid Waste Advisory Council, is being used to develop the system. Don’t make changes that aren’t consistent with the Council and actions of the Environmental Protection Commission.

Deny Any Anti-competitive Grants or Preferences

Metro Waste Authority opposes any legislation resulting in granting exclusive or anti-competitive authority or unfair financial advantage to any 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization to process or recycle materials (such as E-waste, motor oil filters and appliances) already accepted for processing or recycling by other Iowa corporations, agencies or 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations.

Support Only Proven Waste Conversion Technologies

As new conversion technologies (e.g., gasification, plasma arc, thermal depolymerization, ethanol production and anaerobic digestion for solid waste processing and disposal) are introduced, Metro Waste Authority encourages the legislature, Department of Natural Resources and Department of Economic Development to monitor the economic and technical progression of pilot and start-up projects globally in order to provide Iowa communities with reliable, commercial-scale operational data before encouraging investment.

Require Loads to be Covered or Secured While in Transit  

Metro Waste Authority supports increased responsibility for the drivers of all vehicles hauling waste to the landfill.  Loads that are uncovered or not secured are a source of litter along the roadways they travel as well as a potential safety hazard for motorists. Metro Waste Authority supports requiring all compacted rubbish vehicles and vehicles which transport rubbish from a rubbish collection point to a landfill to either be fully enclosed or covered with a tarpaulin or similar covering, or secured with a strap to prevent ejection from the vehicle.

Oppose Mandates for Free Disposal 

Metro Waste Authority opposes any legislative mandate for facilities to provide free waste disposal for any type of nonhazardous solid waste, including recycling or waste processing residue or rejects, produced or delivered by 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations, institutions, businesses or individuals. 

Assess Tonnage Fees for All Waste Generated and Accepted by Regulated Facilities in the State of Iowa

Each year, Iowa landfills send approximately $6 million to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for DNR operations, technical assistance programs, hazardous waste program support, permitting and inspection of all types of waste management facilities, and support of waste diversion projects through the Solid Waste Alternatives Program (SWAP). Metro Waste Authority supports equitable cost-sharing among regulated facilities accepting waste (e.g., transfer stations) to assure adequate funding for the many regulatory, technical and financial assistance services provided by DNR to all areas in the state of Iowa. 

Ban Open Burning of Garbage 

Metro Waste Authority supports efforts to implement a phased approach to restrict and ultimately prohibit the open burning of garbage in Iowa.  Open burning of garbage contributes to uncontrolled fires and frequently to a loss of property.  The open burning of garbage whether in burn barrels or open piles emits dioxins and other toxic chemicals that pose a threat to the health of all Iowans.  The pollutants contained in the smoke from open burning can cause long-lasting and severe damage to major organs and the nervous system.  The ash left after open burning contains concentrated contaminants that can be washed into a surface water or soak unimpeded into Iowa’s groundwater.  Metro Waste Authority believes all solid waste should be handled in permitted facilities that are designed and operated to minimize potential contamination of Iowa’s air and water resources.

Undecided  

Various bills get introduced related to these topics.  Metro Waste Authority will remain undecided until more is known about the intent and implications of the proposed bill.

  • Container deposit law (bottle bill) amendments
  • Landfill bans
  • Recycling requirements
  • Product stewardship requirements
  • Other initiatives or issues not addressed in these positions