More than 100 projects to receive Environmental Trust Fund

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The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved spending nearly $80 million in state lottery funds on more than 100 environmental projects across the state.

Among the projects that received support Thursday was $7 million for the University of Minnesota’s Invasive Terrestrial Plant and Pest Center. More than $5 million for state highway development. and $3.2 million for the Department of Natural Resources’ County Groundwater Atlas, which creates maps and reports on groundwater and pollution susceptibility.

Other projects funded by this measure include PFAS soil and water pollution prevention efforts, environmental education programs, future flood and drought management, and various wildlife conservation efforts.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 94-35, sending it to the Senate for a vote this week.

State Rep. Rick Hansen

“From protecting pollinators to preventing PFAS and microplastic pollution, our Lottery funds serve Minnesotans well,” said House Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rick Hansen. Rep. (DFL South St. Paul) spoke on the House floor before the vote. . “This is a diverse bill with diverse projects across the state.”

This package is funded by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The fund was established by a 1988 constitutional amendment that set aside 40 percent of the funds generated by the Minnesota Lottery to be used to protect, conserve, and conserve the state’s natural resources, including: air, water, land, fish, and other wildlife. The trust fund has financed more than 1,800 projects since 1991, totaling approximately $875 million.

The fund was scheduled to expire in 2025, but lawmakers passed a proposal this year asking voters across the state this year to renew the constitutional amendment and extend the fund through 2050. Republican lawmakers want to use the funds to pay for things like water infrastructure. The project sparked outrage from environmental groups and his DFLers.

This list of projects was recommended by the Legislative Citizens Committee on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), which includes five members each from the House and Senate, two citizen commissioners appointed from each chamber, and a member appointed by the Governor. The committee consists of 17 members, including 5 additional citizen committee members.

Last year, the commission received 218 requests totaling $174 million. The group narrowed it down to 101 projects over the summer with a price tag of $79.64 million, which LCCMR recommended to Congress.

State Senator Jeff Bakker
State Senator Jeff Bakker

Before the vote, Browns Valley Republican Rep. Jeff Bakker, one of LCCMR’s members, urged lawmakers to pass the proposal if it included projects in their districts. I urged them to do so. Bakker himself voted against the bill.

“There are some good projects in this bill that involve trails, but there are also some weird projects in this bill,” he said. “I would like to appeal to aisle members in particular, and indeed both members, to consider this as a way to support projects in the district that impact the public interest. ”

Mohamed Ibrahim

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