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Party-line vote to advance Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources Bill – Session Weekly

Party-line vote to advance Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources Bill – Session Weekly

The House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee was not divided during the session and voted to approve its Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources Bill on Thursday.

Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, sponsored HF4492. A delete-all amendment was added, further amended, and it was approved by an 11-8 vote of the party-line. It will now be sent to the House Ways and Means Committee.

Hansen said that we can offer a package which will solve past problems and lay the foundation for the future. Our state is changing, and we are learning more.

The bill includes fiscal 2023 supplemental budget appropriations to the Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources as well as other organizations. It also includes statutory changes and other changes in relation to the environment and natural resource, including the DNRspolicy or technical proposals.

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The two most controversial issues are the regulations on white-tailed deer farms, and the prohibition of perfluoroalkyl (PFAS) in carpet, textiles, cookware and juvenile products.

Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, echoed a concern raised by Republicans in other committees. He was concerned about the possibility of adding to department budgets one-year after funding state operations through June 30, 20,23 was signed into law.

Heintzeman also pointed out that some provisions from last year’s bill were reinstated.

How can we expect this to move forward, bringing back provisions from last session that were very controversial and unsuccessful? Heintzeman indicated that we now have what I believe I can argue is a more controversial set of provisions.

Hansen replied: It is our responsibility to our constituents to keep trying. If an issue is important for our constituents, and if it continues to get worse, better, we have a responsibility try to address the issue. I cannot control what the other body does. They can be against things. They can also support them. We do have our votes. We have the opportunity to do better. We have the opportunity to do better.

Hansen was able to amend the bill with several changes. They include additional funding for counties to assist in the reporting of registered manure storage and feedlot areas, an extension to the deadline for a rough fishing species report, increased funding for grants to tree replacement from the impact of emerald Ash borer, as well as changes to the reporting provisions for air toxics emissions.

Hansen stated that the changes we made were based on public input at the public meeting held two days ago.

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The first would be $500,000 from the all-terrain vehicles account in the natural resource fund to St. Louis County to trail systems in the Voyageur County County ATV trail system, and $500,000 to trail systems within the Prospector Trail system.

The second made technical modifications for deferred payment on timber cutting permits. This means that payments can now be postmarked within 30 calendar days of the statement date to account for postal processing delays.

The Senate Omnibus billSF4062Sponsored bySen. Bill Ingebrigtsen(R-Alexandria) and awaits action by the full Senate.

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