(a) Imposition. –- A recycling assessment fee is hereby levied and imposed upon the disposal of solid waste at all solid waste disposal facilities in this state, to be collected at the rate of $2 per ton or part of a ton of solid waste. The fee imposed by this section is in addition to all other fees levied by law.
(b) Collection, return, payment and records. -- The person disposing of solid waste at the solid waste disposal facility shall pay the fee imposed by this section, whether or not that person owns the solid waste, and the fee shall be collected by the operator of the solid waste facility who shall remit it to the Tax Commissioner:
(1) The fee imposed by this section accrues at the time the solid waste is delivered to the solid waste disposal facility;
(2) The operator shall remit the fee imposed by this section to the Tax Commissioner on or before the fifteenth day of the month next succeeding the month in which the fee accrued. Upon remittance of the fee, the operator shall file returns on forms and in the manner as prescribed by the Tax Commissioner;
(3) The operator shall account to the state for all fees collected under this section and shall hold them in trust for the state until they are remitted to the Tax Commissioner;
(4) If any operator fails to collect the fee imposed by this section, he or she is personally liable for the amount that he or she failed to collect, plus applicable additions to tax, penalties and interest imposed by article ten, chapter eleven of this code;
(5) Whenever any operator fails to collect, truthfully account for, remit the fee or file returns with the fee as required in this section, the Tax Commissioner may serve written notice requiring the operator to collect the fees which become collectible after service of the notice, to deposit the fees in a bank approved by the Tax Commissioner, in a separate account, in trust for and payable to the Tax Commissioner, and to keep the amount of the fees in the account until remitted to the Tax Commissioner. The notice remains in effect until a notice of cancellation is served on the operator or owner by the Tax Commissioner;
(6) Whenever the owner of a solid waste disposal facility leases the solid waste facility to an operator, the operator is primarily liable for collection and remittance of the fee imposed by this section and the owner is secondarily liable for remittance of the fee imposed by this section. However, if the operator fails, in whole or in part, to discharge his or her obligations under this section, the owner and the operator of the solid waste facility are jointly and severally responsible and liable for compliance with the provisions of this section;
(7) If the operator or owner responsible for collecting the fee imposed by this section is an association or corporation, the officers of the association or corporation are liable, jointly and severally, for any default on the part of the association or corporation, and payment of the fee and any additions to tax, penalties and interest imposed by article ten, chapter eleven of this code may be enforced against them and against the association or corporation which they represent; and
(8) Each person disposing of solid waste at a solid waste disposal facility and each person required to collect the fee imposed by this section shall keep complete and accurate records in the form required by the Tax Commissioner in accordance with the rules of the Tax Commissioner.
(c) Regulated motor carriers. -- The fee imposed by this section is a necessary and reasonable cost for motor carriers of solid waste subject to the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission under chapter twenty-four-a of this code. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, upon the filing of a petition by an affected motor carrier, the Public Service Commission shall, within fourteen days, reflect the cost of the fee in the motor carrier's rates for solid waste removal service. In calculating the amount of the fee to the motor carrier, the Commission shall use the national average of pounds of waste generated per person per day as determined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
(d) Definition. -- For purposes of this section, "solid waste disposal facility" means any approved solid waste facility or open dump in this state and includes a transfer station when the solid waste collected at the transfer station is not finally disposed of at a solid waste facility within this state that collects the fee imposed by this section.
Nothing in this section authorizes in any way the creation or operation of or contribution to an open dump.
(e) Exemptions. -- The following transactions are exempt from the fee imposed by this section:
(1) Disposal of solid waste at a solid waste facility by the person who owns, operates or leases the solid waste disposal facility if it is used exclusively to dispose of waste originally produced by that person in his or her regular business or personal activities or by persons utilizing the facility on a cost-sharing or nonprofit basis;
(2) Reuse or recycling of any solid waste; and
(3) Disposal of residential solid waste by an individual not in the business of hauling or disposing of solid waste on the days and times designated by the Secretary by rule as exempt from the fee imposed pursuant to section eleven, article fifteen, chapter twenty-two of this code.
(f) Procedure and administration. -- Notwithstanding section three, article ten, chapter eleven of this code, each and every provision of the West Virginia Tax Procedure and Administration Act set forth in article ten, chapter eleven of this code applies to the fee imposed by this section with like effect as if the act were applicable only to the fee imposed by this section and were set forth in extenso in this section.
(g) Criminal penalties. -- Notwithstanding section two, article nine, chapter eleven of this code, sections three through seventeen, article nine, chapter eleven of this code apply to the fee imposed by this section with like effect as if the sections were the only fee imposed by this section and were set forth in extenso in this section.
(h) Dedication of proceeds. -- The proceeds of the fee collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited by the Tax Commissioner, at least monthly, in a special revenue account designated as the Recycling Assistance Fund which is hereby continued and transferred to the Department of Environmental Protection. The secretary shall allocate the proceeds of the fund as follows:
(1) Fifty percent of the total proceeds shall be provided in grants to assist municipalities, counties and other interested parties in the planning and implementation of recycling programs, public education programs and recycling market procurement efforts, established pursuant to this article. The Secretary shall promulgate rules, in accordance with chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, containing application procedures, guidelines for eligibility, reporting requirements and other matters considered appropriate: Provided, That persons responsible for collecting, hauling or disposing of solid waste who do not participate in the collection and payment of the solid waste assessment fee imposed by this section in addition to all other fees and taxes levied by law for solid waste generated in this state which is destined for disposal, are not eligible to receive grants under the provisions of this article;
(2) Twelve and one-half percent of the total proceeds shall be expended for personal services and benefit expenses of full-time salaried natural resources police officers;
(3) Twelve and one-half percent of the total proceeds shall be directly allocated to the solid waste planning fund;
(4) Twelve and one-half percent of the total proceeds shall be transferred to the Solid Waste Reclamation and Environmental Response Fund, established pursuant to section eleven, article fifteen, chapter twenty-two of this code, to be expended by the Department of Environmental Protection to assist in the funding of the pollution prevention and open dumps program (PPOD) which encourages recycling, reuse, waste reduction and clean-up activities; and
(5) Twelve and one-half percent of the total proceeds shall be deposited in the Hazardous Waste Emergency Response Fund established in article nineteen of this chapter.