CORRECTION at 9:53 a.m. — $2 million in incentive payments to Conservation Reserve Program enrollees is not in the bill
A plethora of environment policy and funding provisions are part of a $61.4 million bill that aims to, in part, protect and enhance the state’s natural resources.
HF4554 contains items selected by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, the lands bill and the Department of Natural Resources and Pollution Control Agency policy bills, said Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), the bill sponsor.
Passed 74-59 late Saturday, the bill goes to the Senate where Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) is the sponsor. The Senate passed SF4499, its omnibus environment and natural resources bill, 41-26 earlier Saturday.
The largest price tags are $29.95 million for various land acquisition, habitat, and recreation projects that will help maintain and improve parks, trails, and recreation areas. More than $11.8 million would be dedicated to research and management of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, including emerald ash borer and carp;
Hansen said the bill, in part, includes a $400,000 supplemental appropriation from the remediation fund in fiscal year 2021 to the Pollution Control Agency for a cost-share program to reimburse dry cleaning facilities for the cost of moving away from perchloroethylene to solvents that are environmentally preferred alternatives.
The bill would also appropriate $492,000 from the environmental fund to the agency to adopt rules establishing water quality standards for perfluorooctanoic and perfluorooctanesulfonic acids. The agency would also need to adopt rules establishing PFOA and PFOS water quality standards by July 1, 2023.
However, the bill does not include $1.5 million in wastewater treatment grants to small towns that Republicans sought from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
“It includes a compromise that we put forward for the Senate to consider for renewable energy grants to go to wastewater treatment facilities so that they could reduce their energy costs and help the environment,” Hansen said.
Among the policy and funding requests in the bill are: