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DNR policy bill moves forward

Published (3/11/2010)
By Sue Hegarty
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From beaver dams to collector snowmobiles, the Department of Natural Resources’ omnibus policy bill seeks dozens of modifications to current laws.

Sponsored by Rep. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley), HF3094 was approved by the House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee March 4. It awaits action by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division.

Its provisions include:

• enabling the DNR to bill other government units, including tribal governments, for support services and equipment costs;

• establishing a $6 one-time fee to register all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles that are at least 25 years old;

• moving natural resource receipts going to the General Fund to a state parks working capital account;

• prohibiting leases or permits for the removal of sunken logs due to the negative environmental impacts; and

• removing language that encourages horseback riders to ride off-trail to avoid paying for a trail pass.

A provision that would have required private landowners to pay for altering or removing beaver dams that cause flooding or problems on neighboring properties was deleted by an amendment offered by Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar). “I’m not sure that’s equitable,” he said.

The bill would also authorize the DNR to pay up to $18 million to acquire land for a proposed Lake Vermilion State Park.

A companion, SF2916, sponsored by Sen. Satveer Chaudhary (DFL-Fridley), awaits action by the Senate Finance Committee.

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