I hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful Fourth of July! I enjoyed talking and celebrating with neighbors at Marketfest.
July is a great time to be in Minnesota! Since many of us will be spending as much time as we can outdoors this month, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the environment and natural resources budget that we passed this session.
Protecting Our Environment
As Minnesotans, we know that our state is a special place to live, and we want to protect our environment and natural resources for future generations of Minnesotans to enjoy. That’s why I supported legislation that addresses long-term threats to our state’s environment. I voted in favor of funding that will help communities manage aquatic invasive species (AIS) and emerald ash borer (EAB). AIS and EAB have impacted many communities across Minnesota, including ours. This funding will help stop both of them from spreading further.
My colleagues and I also approved a comprehensive plan to fight chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease that has put Minnesota’s wild deer population in jeopardy. We secured funding for CWD research and stepped up inspections and enforcement at deer farms. These changes will help develop a stronger response to outbreaks and prevent them from occurring in the first place.
The new budget includes strong protections for Minnesota’s natural resources. We took action to protect bees and other pollinators that play a key role in our state’s agriculture economy while enhancing Minnesota’s natural beauty. The newly established Lawns to Legumes program, for example, will assist homeowners who want to convert their laws to pollinator-friendly habitat. You can read more about it here. We also designated one threatened species, the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, as the official state bee.
The environment and natural resources budget also protects the health and wellbeing of Minnesotans. It supports research that identifies contaminants that increase health risks and aims to reduce the use of known toxins, including TCE. The budget also funds lead and asthma screenings.
My colleagues and I took action to expand access to the outdoors as well. We established the No Child Left Inside grant program to provide outdoor environmental and ecological activities for Minnesota kids, particularly those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these opportunities. We also secured funding to maintain and improve parks, trails, and recreation areas across the state.
I’ve enjoyed connecting with fellow community members at Marketfest, and I’m looking forward to speaking with more people throughout the summer. I’ll be at the DFL booth again on Thursday, July 18. Please stop by and say hello!