The Natural Resources Department is waiting to see if the Legislature will correct what DNR calls a mistake made last year, one it says is endangering funding for one of Missouri’s biggest environmental programs. The state’s waste tire fee expired at the end of 2003, cutting off hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to clean up tire dumps and encourage waste tire recycling. A Senate committee is holding hearings today on proposals to reinstate that fee. Natural Resources Director Steve Mahfood thinks this is one environmental issue that can get past some political hostility toward taxes and environmental regulation. The fee is 50 cents for eachtire removed from a vehicle. Mahfood says the program will run out of accumulated money in a matter of weeks.