ATLANTA - The fee landfills charge for storing coal ash in Georgia would increase under legislation that cleared the state House of Representatives Tuesday.
The House voted 142-15 to increase the coal ash fee from $1 per ton to $2.50 per ton, matching the fees charged for other items. The increase is intended to discourage an influx of coal ash being transported to Georgia from power plants in surrounding states like North Carolina and Florida.
“We certainly don’t want out-of-state coal ash to come to our state,” Rep. Steven Meeks, R-Screven, told his House colleagues before Tuesday’s vote.
Under the bill, 20% of the revenue generated by the coal ash fees would go to local governments for recycling, litter control and improvements to areas adjacent to landfills such as repairs to local roads affected by the hauling of solid waste to landfills and beautification initiatives.
“It generates a lot of money and does a lot of good things,” said Rep. Terry Rogers, R-Clarkesville.
The House incorporated two related bills into the coal ash fees measure, including the imposition of a $1 fee on each tire sold in Georgia. The funds generated by the fee would go into the state’s Solid Waste Trust Fund.
The bill also would require the director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to produce an annual report outlining how the money in the trust fund is being spent.
Because of the House changes, Senate Bill 123 must now return to the Senate before gaining final passage.