By Wally Kennedy
JOPLIN, Mo. —
The Environmental Task Force of Jasper and Newton Counties will be among the sponsors for the upcoming Spring River Water Summit on May 30-31 in Joplin.
The task force, during a meeting Wednesday at Joplin City Hall, voted to spend $400 to be a sponsor of the summit because of the group’s ongoing involvement in the Spring River Watershed Plan.
Brianna McDonald, with the Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council, said the summit will begin with a tour of Spring River and stops at six sites on May 29. The conference will take May 30-31 at the Holiday Inn of Joplin, 3615 S. Range Line Road.
McDonald said the summit, which will be by invitation only, will focus on wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, stream water quality and watershed planning, and long-term water supply and drought planning.
McDonald said the idea for the summit was advanced by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
In other business, the task force heard an update from Harry Rogers, head of the coordinating council, about proposed legislation in the Missouri Senate that would strip funding from the state’s solid waste management districts and shift management of the program to the DNR.
The task force, during its meeting in January, adopted a resolution in opposition to the legislation.
Rogers said the local solid waste management district has 70 active grant projects in the area, including local recycling centers, that would be turned over to the DNR if the legislation passes.
The local district is managed by an 11-member board of county and city officials from Vernon, Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties.
Rogers said the legislation has generated “a lot of concern” among the 20 districts that operate in the state. He said there is still a chance for the legislation to pass both houses of the Legislature before the end of the session in May, though no mirroring legislation has been proposed in the Missouri House.
The task force learned that the Missouri Air Conservation Commission will meet April 25 at the La Quinta Inn in Joplin.