ENVIRONMENT

BUDGET

Two-year funding is provided for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Metropolitan Council Regional Parks, Minnesota Conservation Corps, Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), Minnesota Zoo, Science Museum, and Minnesota Board of Tourism.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

A compromise agreement places more regulations on hunters and deer farmers and invests in research and prevention of Chronic Wasting Disease. The agreement includes new fencing requirements and redundant gates at deer farms, more regulatory authority for the Board of Animal Health, and stricter inspection requirements.

Elements include:

  • Requiring an entire herd killed if a single deer tests positive for CWD at a deer farm, with no replacement at the facility for five years.
  • Creation of an “adopt-a-dumpster” program for the safe disposal of deer parts.
  • A ban on the importation of whole deer carcasses from outside of the state.
  • $1.8 million for research at the University of Minnesota to develop a faster and less expensive test for diagnosing CWD.
  • About $4.7 million over the next biennium for DNR disease management.

State park open house days

Open house days at state parks are expanded by allowing the DNR to pick three days during the year for free park admission.

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) surcharge

New funds are devoted to combating aquatic invasive species through an increase in the aquatic invasive species surcharge on watercraft licenses, from $5 to $10.60 for three-year boat registrations.

No Child Left Inside

A new “No Child Left Inside” grant program is created for schools to increase firearms safety training, trap shooting, archery, hunting, and angling activities in physical education classes. Grants are established for nonprofits to operate fishing leagues in high schools. The DNR will develop a basic angling curriculum and make it available without cost to nonprofit organizations operating fishing leagues for high schools.

State bee

The Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, Bombus affinis, is designated as the official bee of the State of Minnesota.

Walter F. Mondale Scenic Riverway

The St. Croix Water Trail between Wild River State Park and William O’Brien State Park and facilities are designated as the Walter F. Mondale Scenic Riverway.

Clean Water Legacy Act

Updates and improvements are made to the Clean Water Legacy Act and local water management programs to achieve coordinated management toward “One Watershed, One Plan.”

Small Business Environmental Loan Program

The MPCA’s small business loan program is updated by expanding eligibility, lowering allowable interest rates, and increasing the maximum loan amount.

Outdoor recreation promotion

An outdoor recreation promotion account was established, and gifts and grants received by the office of Explore Minnesota Tourism must be used to promote outdoor recreation.

School trust fund compensation

Requirements are clarified for compensation of the permanent school trust fund when DNR management practices, policies, or designations prevent or diminish revenue generation on school trust land.

Post-EAW comment period

An extension of the 30-day comment period following publication of an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) will be allowed once by the responsible government unit. Subsequent extensions require approval of the project’s proposer.

Environment and natural resources trust fund appropriations (LCCMR)

The recommendations of the Lessard-Sams Legislative-Citizen Commission are funded, along with some additional projects, including:

  • $1.8 million to the University of Minnesota for development of a rapid CWD test
  • $2.2 million for forest and bio economy research at the University of Minnesota
  • $883,000 for minerals and water research at the University of Minnesota – Duluth
  • $600,000 for a native bee survey
  • $350,000 for a managed aquifer recharge study at the University of Minnesota
  • $250,000 for a diversity in environmental careers initiative
  • $1 million for noxious weed detection and eradication work at the Department of Agriculture
  • $300,000 for emerald ash borer (EAB) grants to cities
  • $513,000 for the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program
  • $900,000 for a “lawns to legumes” program
  • $900,000 for agricultural weed control using autonomous mowers at the U of M
  • $200,000 for a recreational access and boat wash at Rainy Lake
  • $1 million for Bruce Mine Park and Mesabi trailhead

Cross-country ski pass fee increase

The cost of the annual cross-country ski pass is raised from $19 to $24; a three-year pass increases from $54 to $69; and the daily pass increases from $5 to $9. The increase is supported by the Cross-Country Ski Association.

DNR/MPCA legal fees

$2.7 million is allocated for the DNR and MPCA’s legal fees for defending the state’s actions in court.

Ivory ban

A ban is placed on the interstate trade of horns and tusks, including ivory and rhinoceroses’ horns. This covers a gap for in-state trade; it is already illegal federally and interstate.

(SF 7)

Omnibus legacy finance bill

Close to $630 million is appropriated from the outdoor heritage fund, clean water fund, parks and trails fund, and the arts and cultural heritage fund. These four funds were established by the “Legacy Amendment,” approved by Minnesota’s voters in 2008.

Outdoor heritage fund

$127.69 million in FY20; $565,000 in FY21 (funds for FY21 projects funds are appropriated next year):

  • Prairies – $38.3 million (FY20)
  • Forests – $17 million (FY20)
  • Wetlands – $20.7 million (FY20)
  • Habitat – $50.1 million (FY20)
  • Administration — $1.4 million (FY20-21)
  • The recommendations of theLessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Councilare maintained.

Clean water fund

$261.26 million (FY20-FY21):

  • Department of Agriculture – $11 million (FY20); $10.7 million (FY21)
  • Public Facilities Authority – $10.1 million (FY20); $8.1 million (FY21)
  • Pollution Control Agency – $23.2 million (FY20); $23.2 million (FY21)
  • Department of Natural Resources – $9.3 million (FY20); $9.3 million (FY21)
  • Board of Water and Soil Resources – $72.6 million (FY20); $66.5 million (FY21)
  • Department of Health — $6.5 million (FY20); $6.5 million (FY21)
  • Metropolitan Council — $1.4 million (FY20); $1.4 million (FY21)
  • University of Minnesota — $1 million (FY20); $1 million (FY21)
  • Legislative Coordinating Commission — $9,000 (FY20)
    • Soil and water conservation districts grants are funded at $24 million for FY20-21
    • The Forever Green Initiative is funded at $4.3 million
    • The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is funded at $17.2 million

Parks and trails fund

$101.26 million (FY20-FY21)

  • DNR state parks, recreation areas, and trails — $19.8 million (FY20); $20.3 million (FY21)
  • DNR regional parks and trails grants — $9.9 million (FY20); $10.1 million (FY21)
  • DNR parks and trails coordination among partners — $500,000 (FY20); $512,000 (FY21)
  • Metro parks and trails grants — $19.8 million (FY20); $20.3 million (FY21)
  • Retains the 40:40:20 parks and trails distribution, with 40% to the DNR for state parks and trails, 40% to the Metropolitan Council for metro parks and trails, and 20% to Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails.
  • Directs the DNR commissioner to convene and facilitate a 9-member working group to develop consensus recommendations for the future allocation of the Parks and Trails Fund. Recommendations are due June 15, 2020.

Arts and cultural heritage fund

$139.77 million (FY20-FY21)

  • Board of the Arts — $32.5 million (FY20); $33.2 million (FY21) = 47%
  • Minnesota Historical Society — $15.6 million (FY20); $17.4 million (FY21)
  • Department of Education (regional public libraries) — $2.6 million (FY20); $2.6 million (FY21)
  • Department of Administration — $11.6 million (FY20); $10 million (FY21)
  • Minnesota Zoo — $1.75 million (FY20); $1.75 million (FY21)
  • Humanities Center — $3.15 million (FY20); $3.25 million (FY21)
  • Indian Affairs Council — $1.66 million (FY20); $1.88 million (FY21)
  • University of Minnesota Board of Regents — $50,000 (FY20); $50,000 (FY21)
  • Maintains a 47% distribution from the arts and cultural heritage fund to the Minnesota State Arts Board, at $65.7 million. The Minnesota Historical Society gets $33 million, Minnesota Public Television $8.9 million, the Minnesota Humanities Center $6.4 million, and regional public libraries $5.1 million.
  • Establishes a competitive grant process for children’s museums (except for those in St. Paul and Rochester, which receive appropriations), administered by the Minnesota Humanities Center. The grant program is funded at $1.25 million for FY20-21.
  • Establishes a competitive “Community Identity and Heritage Grant Program” operated by the Minnesota Humanities Center, funded at $1.7 million for FY20-21 (Senate position was $1.6 million). $250,000 in FY21 is earmarked for a grant to organizations for programming that celebrates Hmong heritage, and $250,000 in FY21 is earmarked for a grant to organizations for programming that celebrates Somali heritage.

(SF 3)

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PROVISIONS THAT DID NOT PASS

No open season for wolves

There will be no prohibition on an open hunting season for wolves. The prohibition was added to the house environment finance bill, passing on a narrow vote. As the federal government prepares to remove gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species Act, long-simmering debates over wolf hunting have reappeared, and the issue may re-surface next year.

Bde Maka Ska Lake name designation

Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis will not be renamed “Bde Maka Ska,” leaving this decision to be made by the courts.

Boat fees were not increased

The fees were last raised in 2006. Most boat registration fees would have been increased from $10.50 to $15.25, with revenue going to the DNR to maintain boat launches and other facilities.

Wild Rice Stewardship Council

Establishing a new Wild Rice Stewardship Council, designating membership and appointing authority, directing it to review and consider recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Wild Rice and 2018 Tribal Wild Rice Task Force report, and outlining duties and required recommendations.

Two-line angling

Allowing anglers to fish with two lines on waters that are not subject to special regulations if they purchase a $5 second-line endorsement, with proceeds going to the walleye stamp account.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) ban

Beginning January 1, 2021, placing a ban on the use of TCE by air emissions permittees at their permitted facilities, with provision for those who need additional compliance time, variances, and exceptions. The ban was proposed following revelations that a White Bear Township manufacturer vented TCE into the air at unsafe levels for several years. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies TCE as a human carcinogen and a developmental toxin, it is still in wide use in the United States. Long-viewed as an effective metal degreaser, about 80 Minnesota manufacturers and other entities rely on it. The ban passed the Senate as an amendment to the environment finance bill on a voice vote, but it was not included in the final Senate/House agreement on the bill. During the 2019 special session, an amendment was allowed to add the ban to the environment finance bill, and it failed 30-36. (SF 2314, SF 7)

TCE emission response account/stakeholder group

Requiring the proceeds of the civil penalty received by the state from Water Gremlin to be deposited into a new TCE emissions account and directing the MPCA commissioner to work with stakeholders on recommendations to the Legislature for appropriating these funds.

Reinvest in Fish Hatcheries Citizen-Legislative Advisory Group

Creating a 12-member Reinvest in Fish Hatcheries Citizen-Legislative Advisory Group to evaluate the state’s aging hatcheries, consider looking at private investment where needed, and consider facility upgrades and expansion of reliance on private hatcheries.

Transfer of water permits

Prohibiting the DNR from imposing additional conditions on a permit, reducing the appropriation allowed, or requiring testing when a water-use permit is transferred as part of the conveyance of real property.

Groundwater management areas

Prohibiting the DNR from providing information about a groundwater management area plan prior to approval of the plan, except in response to media or public inquiries, or when the information concerns timing, location, or meeting agendas regarding the plan.

Re-establishment of the MPCA Citizen’s Board

Reinstating the MPCA Citizen’s Board, established in 1967 and abolished by the Legislature in 2015. The Citizen’s Board was eliminated in the late-night hours of the final day of the legislative session in 2015. Advocates of reinstatement argued that it allows for democratic participation in the decision-making on the environmental issues facing our communities, and its elimination has meant a loss of citizen input on important matters before the agency.

Salt applicator certification

Developing a voluntary training program for commercial applicators of deicers for salt applicator best management practices and certification. Minnesota’s waters are increasingly contaminated with salt residue from deicing road and walkways. This proposal establishes a voluntary training program on best practices for dicing, and gives certified applicators a liability exemption when best management practices for snow and ice removal and deicing were used.

Carpet stewardship program

Expanding carpet producer responsibility by requiring the development of a recycling program for used carpeting to help deal with the 135,000 tons of carpet waste each year in Minnesota. Currently, only about 6,000 tons are recycled.

Minnesota Zoo free admission

Prohibiting the Minnesota Zoo from charging admission to children who are participating in an organized elementary school activity, or to anyone on the following holidays: MLK Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, or Veterans Day.

“Social permit” for new water quality standards

Requiring the MPCA to obtain a “social permit” prior to modifying or adopting new water quality standards. A social permit is obtained after every county in the state has adopted a resolution in support of the new or modified standard.

Wright County AIS inspection pilot expansion

Requiring the DNR to approve the expansion of the Wright County regional inspection pilot program. The plan would expand to nine lakes, adding six new lakes to the program. The DNR did not support the proposal, saying there were several concerns that needed to be addressed.

Effluent limitation compliance/industrial permits

Authorizing, to the extent allowed by federal law, a 16-year exemption from additional investments for an industrial NPDES or state disposal permit holder that builds a treatment facility to comply with modified standards.

Rules not adopted

A provision prohibiting the DNR and MPCA from enforcing any rules that are not adopted with challenged rules presumed to be unenforceable.

Water permit fees need legislative approval

Requiring the MPCA to get legislative approval for increasing water-related permit fees, as well as fees for training water pollution control or subsurface sewage treatment system workers, wastewater and water supply system operator certification, and wastewater laboratory certification.

Paddleboards

Exempting paddleboards from boat licensing requirements.

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