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Minnesota Legislature

Environment and natural resources funding could increase by nearly $80 million

The House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division listens to a nonpartisan staff walk-through of its omnibus finance bill April 2. Photo by Andrew VonBank

What is expected to become the omnibus environment and natural resources bill was unveiled by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division Tuesday.

Sponsored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), HF2209, as amended, would appropriate $1.75 billion in the 2020-21 biennium.

The division is scheduled to take action on the bill Thursday. The companion, SF2314 sponsored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), awaits action by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee.

Appropriations in the House bill include:

  • $928 million for the Department of Natural Resources;
  • $662.4 million for the Pollution Control Agency;
  • $59.4 million for the Minnesota Zoo;
  • $51.6 million for the Board of Water and Soil Resources;
  • $31.4 million for Explore Minnesota Tourism;
  • $18.28 million for the Metropolitan Council;
  • $2.1 million for the Science Museum; and
  • $1.89 million for Conservation Corps Minnesota.

The $1.75 billion total exceeds Gov. Tim Walz’s budget proposal by $5.5 million, and represents an increase of $79.8 million over base appropriations.

[MORESee the spreadsheet]

Despite that, the governor would not get all he seeks. For example, the proposal represents nearly $4 million less for the Pollution Control Agency and $2.2 million more for the Department of Natural Resources.

Some of the funding is dependent on other events.

A $14.7 million proposed appropriation is contingent upon a solid waste tax proposal passing; a repayment of $13.9 million to the Minnesota Landfill Contingency Action Trust will depend in a positive balance in the budget forecast; and $8.9 million in transportation funding for water recreation, forest roads, and ATV/ORV accounts are contingent upon passage of the governor’s gas tax proposal.

Additional funding increases include:

  • $10.5 million for the Board of Soil and Water Resources, including a $150,000 one-time appropriation for restricting the use of conservation materials containing plastics along streambanks;
  • $1.7 million for the Minnesota Zoo, including one-time appropriations for communications and security ($499,000) and prairie butterfly conservation ($40,000);
  • $1.2 million to the Metropolitan Council from the natural resources fund for metropolitan-area regional parks and trails maintenance and operations; and
  • $300,000 for Explore Minnesota Tourism to create the Office of Outdoor Recreation.

The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus environment and natural resources bill:

 

 


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