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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Fue Lee (DFL)

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House Capital Investment Committee hears series of bills on climate-conscious projects

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

St. Paul, MN - Following up on the committee’s commitment to focus on legislation that improves Minnesota’s climate, today the House Capital Investment Committee heard informational testimony on a series of bills that focus on investing in climate-conscious projects throughout the state. 

“In crafting a robust capital investment bill, it’s imperative that we not only view all projects through the lens of their impact on Minnesota’s climate, but also directly invest in proposals that preserve our natural resources and take advantage of renewable energy,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL - Minneapolis), chair of the committee. “The bills heard today are all worthy proposals, and the hope is we can reach consensus on a package of legislation that addresses the needs of a climate-conscious Minnesota.”

Minnesota is leading the Midwest through state emissions reductions targets, which include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. The state has already reduced emissions by more than 10%—but it is not enough. The state failed to meet its 2015 target, and is currently not on track for 2025. Natural climate solutions can help to meet these goals.

“As one of the fastest warming states in the nation, Minnesota must seize opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rep. Patty Acomb (DFL - Minnetonka), chair of the House Climate Action Caucus. “Today’s hearing highlighted various steps we can take to combat climate change, such as establishing urban forestry initiatives and installing solar energy on state facilities. Investments like these will help naturally sequester carbon and address environmental threats like emerald ash borer. It’s time to invest in climate-conscious projects that will help our state and our communities thrive for generations to come.”

In total, 11 bills were heard, with many of them focused on the conservation of Minnesota’s forests, waters, and parks and trails. This was an informational hearing, with no official action taken on the legislation. 

“Minnesota has the opportunity to meaningfully invest in capital projects that protect our forests and promote clean water and air,” said Rep. Todd Lippert (DFL - Northfield), author of several forestry proposals. “Our great outdoors provide for many of our state’s traditions and resources, and in preserving them we also mitigate the impacts of climate change our state is currently facing.”

Additional information, including supporting materials and presentation slides from testifiers, is available on the House Capital Investment Committee’s webpage. Video recording of today’s hearing is available on the House Public Information YouTube channel