Fiscal impact reports (FIRs) are prepared by the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) for standing finance
committees of the NM Legislature. The LFC does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of these reports
if they are used for other purposes.
Current FIRs (in HTML & Adobe PDF formats) are a vailable on the NM Legislative Website (
Adobe PDF versions include all attachments, whereas HTML versions may not. Previously issued FIRs and
attachments may be obtained from the LFC in Suite 101 of the State Capitol Building North.
2-8-06 HB 410/aHENRC/aHBIC
ANALYST Hadwiger
REVENUE (dollars in thousands)
Estimated Revenue
or Non-Rec
$1.300.0 Recurring Hazardous Waste
Fund (339)
(Parenthesis ( ) Indicate Expenditure Decreases)
Duplicates SB521.
Relates to Appropriation in the General Appropriation Act from the Hazardous Waste Fund to
the Water Quality Program of the Department of Environment.
LFC Files
Responses Received From
New Mexico Department of Environment (NMED)
Department of Finance and Administration (DFA)
Synopsis of HBIC Amendment
The House Business and Industry Committee amendment to House Bill 410 as amended by
HENRC clarifies that the voluntary fee agreement would include fees required under existing
statute plus any voluntary fees. According to NMED, this was offered to clarify language in the
HENRC amendment but not to alter the intent of that amendment.
Synopsis of HENRC Amendment
The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee amendment modifies language in the
original bill and amends Section 74-4-4.5 NMSA 1978 to clarify that all revenues from fees im-
posed under Section 74-4-4.2 NMSA 1978 would be deposited in the Hazardous Waste Fund.
The amendments also clarify that the Department of Environment, rather than one of its divi-
sions, is responsible for administering the fund. The amendment also would require that volun-
House Bill 410/aHENRC/aHBIC – Page
tary fee agreements provide for fees in addition to required fees under existing statute. The pre-
vious version of the bill allowed voluntary fee agreements to set fees in lieu of some or all of the
required fees.
Synopsis of Original Bill
House Bill 410 amends a section of the Hazardous Waste Act to allow the Department of Envi-
ronment (NMED) and a business generating hazardous waste, conducting permitted hazardous
waste management activities or seeking a permit for the management of hazardous waste to enter
into a voluntary fee agreement in lieu of paying fees established by the Environmental Improve-
ment Board (EIB).
NMED anticipates that passage of this bill would generate $1.3-$1.8 million per year to the Haz-
ardous Waste Fund. The actual revenues will vary depending on the number and type of facili-
ties that would enter into voluntary fee agreements under this legislation.
Currently, NMED has two such agreements with the U.S. Department of Energy for Los Alamos
National Laboratory (LANL) and the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP). In all, the two
agreements could generate $1.8 million a year in federal revenues. The lack of statutory provi-
sions allowing voluntary fee agreements complicated implementation of the LANL consent or-
der, and processing complex permit modifications for WIPP. Moreover, the U.S. Department of
Defense (DOD) has not developed similar agreements for Mew Mexico’s military installations,
to some degree, because of the lack of these statutory provisions. The NMED revenue estimate
is a rough projection reflecting the impact of this bill if it facilitates conclusion of voluntary fee
agreements with the DOD sites.
This bill was endorsed by the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee.
NMED indicates that it is the state agency that oversees the handling and disposition of hazard-
ous waste under federal and state law. Current authority under the New Mexico Hazardous
Waste Act limits the EIB’s rule-making authority for hazardous waste management fee assess-
ment to: 1) a flat business fee on entities that are engaged in a regulated hazardous waste activ-
ity; 2) a fee on hazardous waste generators based primarily on the amount and toxicity of waste
generated; 3) fees that approximate the Department’s cost of investigating a permit application
for treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste and issuing a permit; and 4) an annual haz-
ardous permit management fee. The fee schedules adopted by the Board are “one size fits all,”
whereby the same fees must apply to all facilities, regardless of their size or scope.
NMED further noted that fee assessment authority under the HWA was established in the late
1980s, when the operation of treatment, storage or disposal (TSD) facilities was beginning to be
regulated, and therefore the focus of the nascent regulatory program. Since then, cleanup of leg-
acy contamination, especially at federal facilities, has become an equal priority of the hazardous
waste regulatory program, but not an equal priority in terms of funding. This issue is particularly
important in New Mexico, where 40 per cent of all hazardous waste facilities are federal facili-
ties, most of which have significant clean up requirements. Moreover, many of the health threats
House Bill 410/aHENRC/aHBIC – Page
posed by the contamination are long-lived, so the decisions made regarding clean up at the facili-
ties must be backed up with the most robust science. The HWA also did not anticipate permitted
facilities as complex as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) or the Los Alamos National
Laboratory (LANL). WIPP’s permit is unique in that it requires the Environment Department to
indirectly regulate Department of Energy (DOE) sites that generate waste destined for WIPP.
This involves Department staff conducting on-site monitoring DOE “audits” of the generator
sites before waste is shipped to WIPP to ensure the waste has been sufficiently characterized.
Also, WIPP’s permit modification requests far exceed the scope and complexity of those from
other permitted facilities, requiring a dedicated staff and contractors with specialized expertise.
LANL has dozens of permitted units and hundreds of polluted sites that must be cleaned up un-
der a Consent Order signed May 2005. The Order sets tough deadlines for NMED to review
documents in a timely manner. The amendments in HB 410 provide a mechanism whereby
WIPP and LANL may continue their direct funding of regulatory oversight and allow other fa-
cilities to do the same. HB 410 would allow NMED to enter into voluntary agreements with
complex facilities like WIPP and LANL to establish sufficient revenue to support adequate regu
latory oversight. Because the fee agreements would operate in lieu of the schedule of fees estab-
lished by the Board, less complex facilities would not be burdened with unreasonable fees that
are based on oversight of the more complex facilities.
HB 410 is intended to allow facilities with significant clean-up requirements (like New Mexico’s
federal facilities) or an unusual permitting framework (like WIPP) to pay the Department’s costs
of overseeing their permits and cleanup of their contaminated sites. The agreements that govern
the payment would be voluntary; facilities that decline to enter into agreements would simply
pay fees based on the schedules promulgated by the Board. This bill would provide federal fa-
cilities the ability to choose a sensible fee structure that fits their circumstances.
NMED has two performance measures related to hazardous waste fee agreements.
NMED’s ability to take action on WIPP audits in a timely manner (80% within 45 days)
NMED’s ability to provide timely notice to LANL and Sandia National Laboratory under
the consent orders that govern cleanup (90% of notice dates in the orders met).
NMED has met the measure concerning WIPP audits, in large part because WIPP funded NMED
through an informal fee agreement since 2000. NMED has not met the consent order measure
for Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories due to lack of resources. HB410, in conjunc-
tion with NMED expansion request for LANL-dedicated staff, would pave the way for direct fa-
cility funding. This would lead to a greater ability by NMED to meet the performance measures.
NMED indicates that it currently has the capability to administer fee agreements.
Duplicates Senate Bill 521 and relates to the General Appropriation Act, which includes about
$1.2 million from voluntary fee agreements with the U.S. Department of Energy to oversee
clean-up at LANL and WIPP operations as well as the General Appropriation Act which appro-
House Bill 410/aHENRC/aHBIC – Page
priates $2.9 million from the Hazardous Waste Fund for NMED hazardous waste regulatory ac-
tivities. As amended by HBIC, this bill duplicates SB521 as amended by SCONC.
With regard to the original bill, NMED recommended that Section 74-4-4.5(B) NMSA 1978 be
added to the bill and amended as follows:
All fees collected pursuant to Subsection F of
Section 74-4-4.2
NMSA 1978 shall be
transmitted to the state treasurer for credit to the hazardous waste fund.
Additionally, the agency proposed an amendment on page 5, lines 23 and 24 of the original bill,
to delete “to be deposited to the credit of the hazardous waste fund,”. This text would no longer
be necessary if Section 74-4-4.2 is amended as above. NMED also recommended amendments to
address obsolete language as Subsection F of that section no longer contains the fee provisions.
The HENRC and HBIC amendments addressed these concerns.