The Legislature has slowed down this week with regards to the Energy, Environment and Land Use policy area. The two chambers are working to get bills off the floor and into the second chamber. Even with the slowdown, there were several bills being discussed and conversations on how to keep others moving.


SB 634 states that energy from a biomass facility can be used to meet the state’s 1.5 percent investment in renewable energy requirement. The bill is one of only three bills passed out of the senate that have not been scheduled for a public hearing. AOC continues to work on getting a hearing in the House Energy and Environment Committee. One effort has involved putting sideboards on the technologies that can be used in these small or community scaled biomass heaters or boilers. We need to continue to pressure the committee to give this bill a hearing. Contact Mark Nystrom, AOC policy manager, for more background on the bill.


The technical fix bill for the onsite septic loan program, SB 812, had its work session rescheduled for May 8th. Senate Bill 812 makes three useful changes to this program. The first two changes would clarify the program’s focus, ensuring that it does not require small businesses or homeowners to replace systems not required by law or policy. The other proposed change would allow an owner to borrow an amount less than the full system replacement price. Upon implementation it was discovered that the law requires borrowers to borrow the full amount required to replace a failed system. While in some instances borrowers need the full amount, small businesses or homeowners do not want to borrow more than they need. This correction would also help stretch the dollars available to make loans to other customers.


SB 1036 , which exempts the creation of landfills and public works projects from mining regulations, has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. A public hearing is expected to be scheduled soon.


HB 2737, which is intended to deal with the recent movement of tiny houses (under 400 sq ft.) with lofts and ladders, passed the House on a 43-16 vote. It now heads to the Senate.


The cider bill, SB 677, continues to progress through the legislative process. It was passed out of the House Economic Development and Trade Committee on an 8-0 vote.  It now heads to the House floor for a vote.

Contributed by: Mark Nystrom | AOC Energy, Environment & Land Use Policy Manager