Lower Taxes for Hazardous Waste Disposal

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A bill that has passed the Alabama House and is pending in the Senate poses an old dilemma for lawmakers -- jobs versus the environment.

The bill would drastically lower taxes for businesses that use the hazardous waste disposal facility at Emelle, in Sumter County near the Alabama-Mississippi line.

The fees for disposing waste were raised in the early 1990s to help spur activity in the economically depressed county in Alabama's Black Belt.

But bill sponsor Rep. A.J. McCampbell says the higher taxes caused businesses across the nation to look for other places to dump their waste. He said that caused employment at the plant to be cut in half. He hopes business will return by cutting the fees.