Wood energy tax credit extension & fairness in DNR fines bills heard in House Committee
FEBRUARY 18, 2020 - The House Committee on Conservation and Natural Resources, chaired by Rep. Tim Remole, heard two bills supported by Associated Industries of Missouri last evening.
HB 2274, sponsored by Rep. Hannah Kelly, would extend the Wood Energy Tax Credit to June 30, 2026. The credit is used to help offset the transportation costs of sawdust to manufacturers, such as charcoal briquette and wood pellet manufacturers, who recycle the sawdust into usable energy products. AIM president/CEO Ray McCarty testified the credit helped keep such Missouri manufacturers competitive and helps turn an environmental problem into an energy asset.
McCarty also testified in support of HB 2342, a bill sponsored by Rep. Lynn Morris that would require the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to furnish companies with written details regarding the calculation of fines and penalties. McCarty likened the bill to requiring the DNR to "show their work" similar to what is asked of students on math tests. He said without such written details of the way in which DNR calculates such penalties, it is nearly impossible to negotiate with the Department to get the correct fine or penalty prior to challenging in court.
McCarty suggested such written materials be considered a closed document, not subject to disclosure, like tax and other government records relating to companies. A representative of the Sierra Club testified that such records should be open to the public. A DNR spokesman showed the committee copies of a sample fine/penalty packet that included many pages of information, but no calculation details and said the DNR believed they were essentially providing the required information today.
The Committee took no action on either bill.