Portions of SB 54 – an environmental regulation bill approved by the General Assembly in 2007 and signed by Governor Matt Blunt (R-MO) are in effect as of the start of the new year.

A key component of that bill increases fines and penalties for the illegal disposition of demolition waste. Some of the violations which had been misdemeanors are now felonies, punishable by fines of up to $20,000.

Jim McNichols, Legislative Liaison with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources , says the increased fines make it worth the while of local prosecutors to go after violators.

The biggest concern is the disposal of construction and demolition waste, which has been a problem mostly in outstate Missouri. McNichols says the targets are those who profit by taking money to illegally dispose of waste on their property  -  not someone who buries part of a barn that is destroyed during a wind storm.

Download/Listen: Steve Walsh report (:60 MP3)