Senator Saxhaug Authors Two Important Environmental Bills
This session, I am authoring two important environmental bills; the first will have an impact on our forests, wetlands and wildlife habitat and the second provides the framework for a 2012 wolf hunting season.
First a bit of background, the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council was established in state law to provide annual funding recommendations to the legislature from the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The Outdoor Heritage Fund is one of four funds created by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, and receives one-third of the money raised by the tax increase. The council ensures proposals are consistent with the Constitution and takes into consideration the outcomes of the Minnesota Conservation and Preservation Plan that directly relate to the restoration, protection, and enhancement of wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife. After the council allocates funds to individual projects, the legislature needs to pass an appropriations bill that reflects the council’s suggestions.
I am a co-author of the 2012 appropriations bill for the Outdoor Heritage Council which totals of $99.92 million, of which $24.64 million will go for acquiring and restoring native prairie lands, $17.3 million will go for acquiring and protecting forest lands, $31.14 million towards wetlands, and $26.62 million for improving habitat for fish, game and wildlife. Minnesotans value our natural resources and these funds are great investments in our future habitat and land preservation.
Some highlights from the bill:
• St. Louis River Habitat Restoration project – $3.6 million.
• Mississippi Northwoods Habitat Complex Protection – $14 million
• Protect Key Forest Habitat Lands in Cass County – $480,000
• MN Moose Habitat Collaborative – $960,000
• Enhanced Public Grasslands – $1.32 million
I am also proud to be the chief author of the Wolf Hunting and Trapping Authorization Bill (SF 1628) which calls for the Commissioner of Natural Resources to establish a wolf hunting season starting no later than the 2012 deer and a wolf trapping season to begin January 1, 2013. The bill calls for a resident wolf hunting license fee of $38 and a $50 fee for trappers which, according to the DNR, will raise about $400,000 per year in new revenue. It is anticipated that there will be more than 25,000 applications and 6,000 licenses will be given out to hunt and/or trap 400 wolves.
As always, it is an honor to represent Northern Minnesota as your State Senator. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact my office at: State Senator Tom Saxhaug, Room 135 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155. Or you can reach me at 651-296-4136 or sen.tom firstname.lastname@example.org.