ST. PAUL – State Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston, has roundly criticized a House Democrat package of environmental measures for its fee increases at a time of state surplus, expansion of government and burdensome regulations.
Green’s criticism was aimed at H.F. 1076, an omnibus environment and natural resources bill which received approval from the body on party lines Thursday. Green spoke against the bill during a lengthy floor debate and said he has three major areas of concern.
First, Green said, he objects to the fact it raises fees on businesses and recreational activities by $20 million over the next two years at a time the state has a massive budget surplus. Green also said he opposes language in the bill which brings California’s auto regulations to Minnesota and cedes our state’s power on this issue to that state.
Green also took issue with the bill placing more power in the hands of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to enforce new environmental permitting regulations.
“Putting that kind of power in the hands of MPCA bureaucrats will crush businesses and could very well cause many to leave the state,” Green said. “That provision is bad news. I have a great appreciation for our environment and for the natural resources we are blessed to share in our state. I also have the utmost respect for the constitutional liberties we enjoy and honor the taxpayer dollar. This bill tramples on both of the latter, especially as it pertains to the lack of accountability for the MPCA.”
Green said the bill now will be the subject of a conference committee that will work to resolve differences between the two bodies’ respective packages in the hopes of having a finished product in place before the Legislature is set to adjourn May 17.
“I’m really pulling hard for the Senate to stand strong on this and eliminate the bad provisions House Democrats passed in this bill,” Green said. “I would like to see the version that comes back to the House for final approval be something worthy of bipartisan support.”