One week remains until the Legislature is constitutionally required to adjourn on May 20. The House DFL and Senate GOP are in the process of negotiating the state budget.
Last week, the House offered to compromise with Senate Republicans with a $664 million reduction in our budget in exchange for a $332 million increase in theirs (that’s a 2:1 ratio favoring the Senate). The Senate refused and countered with nothing. Click here to watch a video replay of House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler laying out the facts about the status of budget negotiations, or click here to watch Speaker Hortman’s Sunday morning conversation with Esme Murphy on WCCO about the House and Senate approaches to our state budget.
One vast difference between both chambers is especially evident in the Environment and Natural Resources budget.
Environment and Natural Resources
|Our parks, lakes, and public lands are natural gems we cherish in Minnesota. Protecting and preserving our environment and abundant wildlife has been a key priority of mine at the Legislature.
The House’s environment budget addresses long term problem-solving to environmental issues facing our state. It helps communities respond to a variety of issues: prevent emerald ash borer spread; manage aquatic invasive species; control the outbreak of chronic wasting disease; as well as improve waste management, and reduce the use of plastic.
I am especially pleased about the support for research and control of aquatic invasive species within the budget. This has been an issue I’ve been working on for years in response to the concerns of what community members have shared with me. Taking preventative measures to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species will help keep our lakes clean and safe for recreation.
In contrast, the Senate budget cuts would have significant consequences. They include:
The Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen outlined what’s at stake if we don’t make the investments our environment and wildlife need and deserve.
- Staff and service reductions at state parks and trails that would eliminate camping and other services at up to 34 parks, close campgrounds and parks from Labor Day to Memorial Day, and cause trail maintenance to suffer
- Less control over the spread of aquatic invasive species
- Reduced water management, which would result in less aid for local governments and make it more difficult to respond to floods or water level issues
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