Minnesota House Passes Environment and Natural Resources Budget Conference Committee Report
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved the conference committee report on H.F. 2310, the 2023 Environment, Natural Resources, Climate, and Energy Budget Bill, on a vote of 72-57.
The bill, authored by Representative Rick Hansen (DFL – South St. Paul), invests over $670 million in new environmental and natural resources funding. It funds the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Board of Water and Soil Resources, the Metropolitan Council Parks, the Conservation Corps, the Minnesota Zoo, and the Science Museum of Minnesota.
“This is a problem-solving bill that rights past wrongs and lays a foundation for protecting Minnesota’s land, air, water, and wildlife into the future, said Rep. Hansen, chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee. “By passing this bill, we are making the largest investment into protecting our environment in our state’s history. Whether it’s addressing chronic wasting disease, PFAS chemicals, or emerald ash borer, this legislation makes meaningful progress on issues that previously stalled under divided government.”
The Environment and Natural Resources portion of the bill includes significant policy provisions. It includes funding for replanting trees and responding to emerald ash borer (EAB), provisions to address aquatic invasive species (AIS), and a comprehensive package to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Minnesota’s wild and farmed deer populations.
“DFLers are committed to protecting our land, air, water, and wildlife,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “This bill protects our environment and natural resources for current and future generations.”
The final version includes the PFAS prevention package, with multiple pieces of legislation setting water standards and banning non-essential PFAS use in a variety of products. The legislation adds stronger protections for residents of environmental justice areas and looks at the cumulative impact of air toxins and pollution in disadvantaged communities. It also repays landfill clean-up funds raided during the Pawlenty administration.
“Minnesotans value the great outdoors and care deeply about conservation, wildlife management, habitat restoration, and more,” said House Majority Leader Jamie Long. “That’s why the Minnesota Legislature is passing the largest investment in our environment in our state’s history. We are blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and we are committed to protecting the great outdoors for generations to come.”
The budget also includes the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Natural Resources (LCCMR) recommendations on funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) for 81 projects around Minnesota, totaling over $80 million. It also includes reforms to the membership of the LCCMR.
“Our budget is putting forward the needed investments to ensure Minnesota’s great outdoors are preserved for generations to come,” said Rep. Sydney Jordan (DFL – Minneapolis), Vice Chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee. “It shouldn’t be partisan to say Minnesotans deserve clean air to breathe and water to drink, and our budget does so proudly while also funding our parks, trails, and the other natural assets that make our state a great place to live, work, and play.”
A video of the floor debate and final vote are available here.