This week has been busy with farm chores including putting up hundreds of big round bales of hay. The weather has been cooperative. However, there were also plenty of St. Paul work to attend too including the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) hearing where the National Loon Center Foundation presented the National Loon Center Project Proposal.
The LCCMR is responsible to make funding recommendations to the Legislature for special environment and natural resource projects from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF). These projects help protect and enhance Minnesota's environment and natural resources. Approximately $59 million is available each year for funding from the Trust Fund.
The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is a constitutionally dedicated fund that originates from Minnesota State Lottery proceeds and investment income.
Matt Killian and Leah Heggerston made an impressive presentation to the Commission. They were accompanied by a large contingent of Cross Lake area residents. The foundation has already secured an agreement for a location with US Army Corps of Engineers on the federal property that includes the Cross Lake Dam.
The total cost of the project is $9.6 million. The foundation is taking responsibility to secure approximately $5.6 million of that funding from private and federal funding sources, and asking is LCCMR to contribute about $4 million in natural resource trust fund dollars.
Upon completion of the National Loon Center presentation I met with Assistant DNR Commissioner Bob Meier and DNR Parks and Trails Division Director Erika Rivers to discuss ensuring we move forward to fill the recently vacant Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area director’s position. We also discussed the ongoing work of the upgrades at CCSRA that are now possible with the $3.6 million dollar capital investment that the legislature approved in 2017.
Later yesterday the PUC approved the replacement of Enbridge Line 3. The approval included accepting most of the preferred route with at least one adjustment routing the new line north of the Big Sandy Lake area, rather than passing south of the lake. I will address more details on Line 3 decision in a separate email update later today.
Please be safe as we celebrate July 4th Independent Day and the signing of the Declaration of Independent Day which marked the birth of the great Nation on July 4th, 1776.