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Ways & Means Committee passes drought relief bill

Monday, February 28, 2022

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the House Ways & Means Committee approved legislation that invests $23.85 million in drought relief. HF 3598, authored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL – South St. Paul), will help communities across Minnesota recover from the drought of 2021.  

"The drought we faced last year has created new challenges for many Minnesotans,” said Rep. Hansen. “This commonsense legislation provides resources for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to help local and tribal governments recover from the drought. It will support communities as they recover and help them thrive in the future.” 

The bill invests a total of $23.85 million in drought relief, with $13.3 million allocated to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). $5.5 million will be used to replace seedlings on DNR-managed lands that were killed by the drought and to help tribal, county, and private forestland owners replace seedlings on their lands. $4.5 million is allocated to help municipal, township, and tribal governments remove and replace shade trees that were impacted by the drought, with an additional $3 million to help governments that operate public water supplies increase efficiency. The bill also includes $300,000 for costs associated with resolving well interferences.  

The bill was combined with HF 3420, legislation authored by Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL – Esko) that includes $5 million for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to provide grants for drought-related expenses and $5 million for the Rural Finance Authority’s revolving loan account for drought assistance.  

Video of today’s hearing is available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. Documents and other information from the hearing are available on the committee’s webpage