Sierra Club meeting

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COLUMBIA - State representative Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, attended a meeting the Osage Group Sierra Club held at Columbia Public Library Thursday night. 

The club discussed bills that would affect the water supply, status of state parks and how cities control its plastic waste. Kendrick answered questions about the state's budget and house procedures, since he has seats on those committees. He said he supports the club's stances on environmental issues. 

According to the club, Missouri's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a higher standard than federal groundwater testing requirements for toxic coal ash waste. The federal test does not cover the most toxic pollutants in coal ash. House Bill 2041 says the state's location restrictions and design standards for coal ash ponds "cannot be more restrictive than federal regulations." The bill got a "do pass" vote, and was sent to its original committee.

House Bill 2551 says the DNR and all other state departments must sell any property interest to land purchased in fiscal years 2016 through 2018 through legal settlement funds from the DNR.

According to the club, this includes state parks established under Governor Nixon: Eleven Point, Bryant Creek and Ozark Mountain. The bill was read for a second time on Monday and is currently not on the house calendar.

Senate Bill 853 and House Bill 2334 both restrict cities and counties from imposing a ban or fee on plastic bags and other disposable containers. The bills also include any cup, package container, bottle and any other packaging made of cloth, paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, glass, post-consumer recycled material or similar laminated material.

The club said the bill is an attempt by industries like grocery chains and fast food to put their own priorities over the desires and needs of Missourians. 

"Businesses want to have uniformity across the state," Sierra Club political committee member Terry Ganey said. "They don't want Columbia to ban plastic bags, ban plastic cups because they would have a different system for food containers in Columbia compared to the rest of the state."

The club said solid waste damages rainwater runoff systems by clogging sewers. 

The house's version of the bill has a public hearing scheduled for March 6, at 8 a.m. The senate bill had a hearing on Tuesday and is currently not on the senate's calendar.

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