Landfill bill concerns some counties worried about recycling costs
DENVER — Delta County officials weren’t looking forward to having to comply with a bill going through the Colorado Legislature on landfills, and they may not have to, at least for now.
A measure that won preliminary approval in the Colorado House on Wednesday was initially designed to require the state’s landfills to have solid waste diversion programs.
In other words, recycling.
But since then, it’s been watered down to include only larger landfills.
“It made all reporting voluntary by the counties and cities,” Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, said of changes she’s made on her measure, HB1275. “There was some language that talked about consolidation, and the rural counties were worried about that, but that is not what the bill is about so I took all of that out,”
The bill still is about encouraging more recycling at the solid waste landfills in the state, but it doesn’t mandate that any of them do it, she said.
Instead, it places more reporting requirements on those landfills that receive grants through the Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity Fund, a program established in 2007 that is designed to encourage business development of recycled materials.
The measure also brings the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade into the mix, to get them to help in the effort of developing recycling markets, Winter said.
The bill completely exempts landfills of 12,000 tons or less.
Those changes, however, haven’t appeased Colorado Counties Inc. and several rural counties.
They remain concerned that it will lead to more requirements on them, and ultimately a complete mandate on all landfills regardless of size.
Delta County Commissioner Don Suppes said his county’s concern was that if more unfunded mandates are placed on its landfill beyond those that already exist, that only ends up translating into increased dumping fees, something the county is already looking at having to do.
“When that happens and the rates get too high, some jerk ends up dumping stuff on public lands, and we don’t want that,” Suppes said. “We need to continue to make landfills affordable to all.”
Mesa County, too, is concerned about the bill.
“Mesa County supports increased diversion and maximizing landfill space, but we are in the best position to make fiscally responsible decisions on the course of action for implementation, not the state,” said Commissioner Rose Pugliese.
An administrative law judge ruled Wednesday that a group formed by former congressman Bob Beauprez should have filed as a political committee with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office disclosing its contributions and expenditures.
As a result, his committee, Colorado Pioneer Action, was assessed a $17,735 fine, the second-largest ever in the state’s history.
The right-leaning group claimed that its activities were not intended to support or oppose active candidates, but the judge ruled that was not the case.
Matt Arnold, head of Campaign Integrity Watchdog and the sole man behind the complaint against the group, said it was clear Beauprez’s group was helping certain candidates while opposing others.
Beauprez’s group has 45 days to appeal the decision.