I hope you were able to spend some time outdoors and enjoying signs of spring yesterday. While I spent most of Earth Day indoors at the Capitol, it was a fitting day to pass the Environment and Natural Resources bill that I’ve been working on all session! The House approved the bill last night with a bipartisan vote of 70-63.
As I’ve mentioned in previous updates, this legislation is a problem-solving bill. It provides funding to address unprecedented threats – such as climate change, pollution, chronic wasting disease, and invasive species – and develop innovative solutions that will protect the environment and human health. Other investments would help preserve and enhance Minnesota’s clean water, air, and land and protect our wildlife, including the animals and insects that play a critical role in our ecosystems and food supply.
The bill also contains several provisions to address racial and economic disparities. We know that communities of color, Indigenous communities, and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by exposure to hazardous chemicals and contaminated drinking water. Our Environment and Natural Resources bill directs the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to establish environmental justice communities using Census data. The agency would be required to consider the community’s history of exposure and socioeconomic conditions when issuing new permits.
If you’d like more details, a press release with more information about the bill is available on my legislative website.
On a related note, I encourage you to check out No Mow May, a nationwide campaign to protect pollinators during the critical spring season. Taking a month off of mowing and cleaning your lawn gives bees and other important species more time to emerge from their winter hibernation. Unmowed lawns can support hundreds and even thousands of bees per day! If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of flowering lawns, you can find great resources through the Lawns to Legumes program and the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.
Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions or feedback that you’d like to share. You can reach me at 651-296-6828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.