Friday, September 29, 2017

Failure To Renew Recycling Fee Closes Grant Programs For Waste Planning, Household Hazardous Waste Education

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday formally announced it will no longer accept applications for household hazardous waste education or municipal solid waste planning grants after September 30 because the General Assembly has failed to reauthorize the $2/ton Recycling Fee. (formal notice)
To be considered for an award, DEP must receive all Section 901 grant applications no later than September 29.
DEP had already stopped accepting applications for new Act 101 Local Recycling Implementation Grants.
DEP had to take this step because reimbursements for successful grants occur over two or three years and the agency cannot assure funds will be available to pay those grants if the fee is not reauthorized.
In its notice, DEP said, “The Act 101 Recycling Fee, which supports this grant program, is set to terminate on January 1, 2020; thus, the Department can no longer accept grant applications because grant awards are based on collection of the Recycling Fee.
“If the termination date for the Recycling Fee is extended or eliminated, the Department will resume accepting applications under this grant program.”
Status Of Legislation
Legislation to reauthorize the Recycling Fee-- Senate Bill 646 (Killion-R-Delaware)-- is still stuck in the House, after passing the Senate in near record time.
The other threat to local recycling programs is the House Republican budget which proposes to take $70 million-- nearly 2 years’ worth of income-- from the Recycling Fund to help balance the state’s FY 2017-18 state budget.  
The move would not only jeopardize new grants to support local recycling collection programs, but would leave DEP short of funds to pay for the grants already approved for communities.
County commissioners, township supervisors, the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania and many local communities and municipalities have weighed in against raiding the Recycling Fund.
At the same time, there is overwhelming support for reauthorizing the $2/ton Recycling Fee from communities, local governments and the waste management industry.
Time will tell how these issues will be resolved by the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf and whether the actions of the General Assembly will threaten the foundation of a $22.6 billion industry in Pennsylvania.
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