Senator Chris Eaton expresses disappointment with Senate environment bill

St. Paul, Minn.— Senator Chris Eaton (DFL- Brooklyn Center) released the following statement in response to the passing of the omnibus environment and natural resources budget bill last night.

Senator Eaton’s Statement:

“The Minnesota Senate’s Republican majority has passed a terrible budget bill for our environment. It reverses the state’s historic devotion to the environment and cuts general fund spending on the environment and natural resources by $89.6 million compared to the last biennium. This is a 25 percent cut and an enormous rollback in state general funding support for our state.

Raiding the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is one of the most irresponsible components of the bill. The LCCMR projects are well-vetted by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Cutting 18 LCCMR-recommended projects disregards the thorough examination of these projects and ignores many priorities for protecting the state’s environment and natural resources.

This bill adds funding for wastewater treatment grants rather than loans, as provided by the citizen-approved Constitutional Amendment. This is an abuse of voters’ intent and a clear violation of the state’s Constitution.”

Background:

  • 17% cut to DNR would result in closing campgrounds in 30-34 state parks, hamper efforts to deal with invasive species, and underfund the upkeep of our hiking and trail system.
  • 86% cut to PCA would result in elimination of recycling and composting grants, hamper the cleanup for the St. Louis River/Duluth Harbor, and provide no funding for contaminated site cleanup and closed landfills.
  • 39% cut to BWSR The Board of Water and Soil Resources, which protects water quality in lakes, streams, and wetlands. This cut comes at a time when farm chemicals have made water in whole swaths of Minnesota too toxic for swimming and fishing.  
  • This bill reduces General Fund appropriations for state parks and trails by more than $10 million in FY20-21, and shifts this funding to one-time appropriations from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. To do so, the bill reduces or eliminates many LCCMR-recommended projects, including some of DNR’s priority projects for protecting the state’s natural resources. Removing a $3.5 million LCCMR-recommended proposal for scientific and natural areas will result in unmet management needs, including prescribed burns and AIS control.
Senator Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton represents District 40, which includes the cities of Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park in Hennepin County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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