Environment-related appropriations from the General Fund and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund are a signature away from becoming law.
Sponsored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), the omnibus environment and natural resources finance bill was approved 84-43 by the House and 61-5 by the Senate Friday. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Tim Walz.
It would provide an increase of $14.78 million in environment and natural resources funding, the bulk of which to be used by the Department of Natural Resources to address chronic wasting disease, the fatal neurological disease that has spread into Minnesota white-tail deer herds.
“Minnesotans know our state is a special place to live and want it to remain that way for years to come,” Hansen said in a statement. “They’re proud of our state’s natural beauty and abundant resources and expect us to protect our environment for future generations of Minnesotans.”
In total, the bill would provide General Fund appropriations of $338 million during the upcoming biennium for the Pollution Control Agency, Department of Natural Resources, Metropolitan Council Regional Parks, Minnesota Conservation Corps, Board of Water and Soil Resources, Minnesota Zoo, Science Museum and Board of Tourism.
It also outlines how $64.47 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is to be spent, mostly on projects Fiscal Year 2020, with the exception of three projects that will receive $2.94 million in Fiscal Year 2019. The largest of those 2019 appropriations is $1.8 million for development of a diagnostic test for chronic wasting disease.