JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri lawmakers are considering whether to reinstate fees that have helped fund more than one-quarter of the state's water programs.
The fees that expired in December provided $4.2 million last budget year for water programs overseen by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
A Senate committee next week could consider legislation that extends the water fees for another couple years. That bill has already passed the House.
Several Missouri business groups have urged lawmakers to renew the fees. Lobbyists representing business, agriculture and utility interests also endorsed extending them during a Senate committee hearing earlier this year.
They warned that federal regulators could take over water regulation if the state does not have enough funding.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)