The governor and the director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are each asking lawmakers to increase the amount of money spent on the enforcement of state air quality regulations. But critics say industry should pay for that enforcement, not taxpayers.
DNR director, Chuck Gipp, says the air quality bureau is funded with fees based on the amount of pollutants generated, so as emissions have gone down, so have the fees.
“Currently by rule, it’s capped at $56 per ton of emissions. And as we’ve worked successfully with businesses, they’ve reduced the amount of emissions that go into the air by 33-percent since 2007,” Gipp says.
Gipp is asking for two million dollars to hire more people to speed up the permitting process, and companies would also pay more. “We’re down ten people already in the air quality permitting section of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and with any less people we simply won’t be able to get the permits out necessary to have business growth and expansion in the state,” Gipp says.
Governor Branstad’s budget boosts funding for the air quality bureau by $1.5 million