Sunday, January 10, 2016

Infrastructure & Environment Review

Ameren Missouri Efficiency Program Ends

Unable to resolve differences with state regulators, Ameren Missouri has let its energy efficiency rebate program lapse. Staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission and the state’s Office of Public Counsel believed that Ameren customer overpaid the cost of the program, and opposed a three-year extension. A proposal from Kansas City Power & Light has been approved, and it might serve as a model for a compromise between the state and Ameren. You can read more about this issue here.

Bans on Texting While Driving Introduced in Missouri

Bills that would prohibit or greatly restrict texting while driving have been prefiled in the Missouri General Assembly session that started January 6: HB1542 and SB821. Currently, texting while driving is banned for drivers younger than 21 and for drivers of commercial vehicles. You can find more about these bills here.

Bill Would Add Missouri Highway Commissioners

HB1446 would increase the size of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission from six members to eight. Each of the seven Transportation Department districts would be represented by a commissioner, and an eighth commissioner would be appointed without regard to district residence.

Missouri Legislators Propose Fuel Tax Increase

Two proposals have been floated by Missouri state legislators. One would increase the tax on gasoline by 1.5 cents and diesel by 3.5 cents. Another would increase all fuel taxes by 2 cents. You can find more about these proposals here or here.

As an alternative to the fuel tax, SB645 would redirect 3 percent of automobile sales tax revenues from state general revenue to the road fund.

Flooded Wastewater Plants Release Sewage in St. Louis Area

Wastewater treatment plants operated by the Metropolitan Sewer District of St. Louis have released millions of gallons of sewage into rivers. The Grand Glaize and Fenton plants were inundated by the recent floods in Missouri. The two plants, which combined treat and average of 20 million gallons of wastewater per day, discharge into the Meramec River.

White House Announces Water Strategy

The White House announced a strategy to the sustainability of U.S. water supplies and systems. The cynic in me suspects that these strategies, programs, and actions were things that were mostly in the works anyway, but someone cobbled them together into a seemingly unified program (you can can get the details here). Even so, we need to take a serious look at our water resources, policies and practices. Good policy that addresses today’s water situation is needed, but sustainable water for our nation will come when we have a culture that values water for the many roles it plays in our environment, industry, health, recreation and almost every other aspect of human life.

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