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Drycleaning costs could rise under a proposed bill

February 28, 2000
By: Francie Krantz
State Capital Bureau
Links: SB 577

JEFFERSON CITY - The cost of dry cleaning could be a bit higher under a plan to clean up abandoned dry cleaner sites.

Sen. Joe Maxwell, D-Mexico, said he wants the legislature to establish a $2 million fund to clean up solvents at old drycleaning sites. Individual cleaners would be required to contribute between $500 and $1500 to the fund each year. Failure to pay would result in fines of up to $500.

Maxwell said the drycleaning industry supports the bill and is willing to pay extra to restore abandoned property. However, he conceded that collecting more funds from the industry might press cleaners to raise their prices.

"Consumers indirectly might see an increase because of this legislation," Maxwell said. "But the important thing is that we're making the industry responsible for the cleanup, not taxpayers."

Maxwell sponsored similar legislation in 1996, but aimed it more toward urban areas. This year's bill is directed toward smaller rural communities. He said old solvent deposits are a major eyesore and need to be removed.

"It's not hard to discover abandoned dry cleaning sites in these communities, and there are a lot of environmental concerns there," he said. "We need to clean these sites up and turn the properties into more productive areas."

The bill passed out of committee with little debate and is currently awaiting action by the full Senate.