With Missouris 2022 legislative session beginning, Environment Missouri, a citizen-based statewide environmental advocacy organization, is already looking forward to working alongside our many coalition partners, state legislators, and supporters to protect our states clean air, clean water, and public spaces. We will be focusing our environmental priorities on this legislative session on: protecting the caves and endangered bat species of our states, securing the right for repair to our electronics and farm equipment; removing lead from our schools drinking waters; and securing our right to repair our electronics.
First, the right to repair aims to take on big companies that push us to buy more stuff and throw it away instead of fixing it. While we already have too much stuff to throw away, electronic equipment manufacturers make it even more difficult to repair them, so we end throwing away even more. Many manufacturers make repairs exclusive to them, so they have complete control over the process. The manufacturer being the only option for repair can lead to increased costs and push consumers to buy unnecessary products. We must empower more repairs to reduce waste. Rep. Emily Weber has introduced legislation to do exactly that.
Farmers are also having difficulty with modern electronic equipment and tractors. The manufacturer installs digital locks on equipment to prevent anyone from repairing it except the dealer technicians. We have been working with Rep. Barry Hovis in support of farmers who provide our food with additional repair options throughout the state.
It is crucial to get lead out of drinking water. There is no safe level for children. Environment Missouri, along with Rep. Paula Brown is pushing for clean drinking waters in Missouri’s schools. Our children need clean, safe drinking water especially where they go to learn and play each day. Lead is contaminating water in schools, pre-schools, and child-care facilities. Lead-containing fixtures, pipes, faucets, and plumbing are the culprits. The state must remove lead from drinking water in Missouri schools using federal and state funding. This will ensure that children are safe and healthy.
Environment Missouri believes that protecting the land and ecosystems that are part of Missouri’s identity is essential. Missouri is also known as the Cave State. There are more than 7,300 caves in Missouri. Our beautiful cave system contains an important pollinator, as well as a pest controller: The bat. Bats are often given a bad name despite their importance in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Missouri’s bats are known to be insectivores and eat many bugs, including crickets and mosquitoes. Bats can eat over 1,000 pests per hour. This helps to protect people from disease-carrying bugs and improves agricultural yields.
North American bat populations have been declining due to habitat loss, climate change, and endemic diseases, such as White Nose Syndrome. Eight of the 14 Missouri bat species are on the Missouri Species of Conservation concern.
It is time for Cave States bat populations and their natural habitat to be given priority. Environment Missouri supports additional funding to protect and conserve our caves, and to support the entities that are currently protecting our bat population.
We are committed to protecting Missouri’s home and our neighbors. We hope you will join us during the 2022 legislative session to push for new laws to protect our right to clean drinking water in schools and healthy habitats to our state’s favorite nocturnal pest-killer.
This piece originally appeared in theJan. 9, 2022 edition of The Missouri Times newspaper.
Bridget Sanderson, the state director of Environment Missouri, is responsible for this piece.