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Environmental, flood requests heard

Published (3/2/2012)
By Bob Geiger
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Sixteen bonding bills totaling

$132.1 million in environmental projects were laid over Feb. 29 by the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, and will be considered for inclusion in the committee’s bonding recommendations.

Funding for flood hazard mitigation comprises $69.1 million, or 52.3 percent, of the requests.

Grants provided by the state provide up to 50 percent of flood mitigation project costs. Projects considered this year came from across the state, and some carry high price tags.

Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL-Mpls) asked how much the state plans to spend on flood mitigation.

“I know there’s concern that this is a never-ending issue, but there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Kent Lokkesmoe, director of capital investment for the Department of Natural Resources. He estimates needed statewide flood mitigation costs at about $100 million.

Of the seven flood-relief bills, the most expensive is HF2020, sponsored by Rep. Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead), which would provide $20 million for mitigation projects near Moorhead.

Other flood mitigation requests include:

HF2196, sponsored by Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau), which would provide

$17 million to help protect Oslo, a city of 330 residents located 19 miles north of Grand Forks, N.D. along the Red River;

HF2215, a $13 million appeal, sponsored by Rep. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley), to help Bear Park in the Sandhill Watershed District, Climax, Felton, Nielsville, Shelly and Upper Becker Dam in the Wild Rice Watershed District; and

HF2403, a $9.2 million request, sponsored by Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL-Dilworth), for the Redpath and North Ottawa projects in the Bois de Sioux Watershed District.

The Minnesota Zoo is requesting

$20 million in HF2410, sponsored by Rep. Tara Mack (R-Apple Valley): $15 million for asset preservation and $5 million for new projects.

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