Monday, March 4, 2024
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Minnesota House passes environment and energy omnibus spending bill

(The Center Square) – Minnesota will spend more than $670 million more on the environment and natural resources if a 473-page omnibus budget bill the House of Representatives passed Monday becomes law.

Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, the bill’s author, said in a news release that the fiscal years 2024 and 2025 budget appropriations bill is the largest investment the state has ever made into protecting the environment.

“Whether it’s addressing chronic wasting disease, PFAS chemicals, or emerald ash borer, this legislation makes meaningful progress on issues that previously stalled under divided government,” Hansen said.

Minnesota Session Daily reported that Hansen said that many of the solutions have been previously proposed.

The bill appropriates about $1.7 billion to the Department of Natural Resources, Pollution Control Agency, Board of Water and Soil Resources, parks and trails managed by the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Zoo, and about $357 million for energy-related programs.

About $1 billion from the general fund would go to outdoor recreation, natural resource management and pollution control programs.

Under the bill, the state would spend $93 million to replant trees and respond to emerald ash borer, $65 million for the DNR’s Get Out More program to improve outdoor recreation opportunities and $793 million on about 85 projects from proceeds of the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which pulls funding from the lottery.

The cost of adults’ lifetime fishing licenses would rise from $574 to $689. Registration for boats that exceed 40 feet would more than double, from $90 to $209.

Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, criticized the bill on that front in a news conference Monday. He said in a press briefing that the DFL’s hiking fees makes the outdoors less accessible, amid the state’s $17.5 billion surplus.

Minnesota Session Daily reported that the bill includes four amendments from Republicans: placing income limits on those eligible for rebates for electric vehicle purchases, requiring clean energy technology manufacturers to exceed Minnesota wage and labor standards and establishing a task force to investigate conditions in mining facilities in China and the Congo.

The bill also requires manufactures of products that include intentionally added per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) to submit product descriptions and rational for including PFAS in the products to the Pollution Control Agency beginning in 2026. Manufacturers would need to revise the information if there are significant changes in that information or if the agency requests a revision, though the agency could collect the information from other governmental bodies or waive the information requirements if there’s sufficient information publicly available.

Starting in 2025, people couldn’t sell the following products if they had intentionally added PFAS: carpets or rugs; cleaning products; cookware; cosmetics; dental floss; fabric treatments; juvenile products; menstruation products; textile furnishings; ski wax; and upholstered furniture.

The state would also spend $5 million to give state-owned land in the Upper Sioux Agency State Park to the Upper Sioux Community.

The House passed H.F. 2310 69-59. As of noon Tuesday, the bill’s in the Senate’s Finance committee.


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