This year’s omnibus environment policy and finance bill cleared its second committee stop this week after passing out of the Senate Finance Committee. Agency staff testified to their disappointment over the bill’s lack of funding for the governor’s priorities, and despite Senate DFLers offing an amendment to insert the governor’s supplemental budget items into the bill, Senate Republicans continue to refuse to give these proposals any consideration.
The governor’s proposal would make once-in-a-generation investments in enhancing, conserving, and restoring our state’s natural habitats and ecosystems; protect the sustainability of clean water for our communities; provide critical support for our communities to make infrastructure upgrades that can withstand climate-related heavy rainfalls; and invest in our state parks, which have seen record levels of visitors as Minnesotans have turned to outdoor recreation during the COVID-19 pandemics.
In contrast, the Republicans plan to spend just $1.47 million on natural resources, which accounts for merely 0.016% of the total budget surplus. They also focus on controversial policy provisions that would roll back state protections for air and water, weaken the ability of Minnesotans to petition for environmental reviews, increase pollution contamination, threaten the sustainability of our drinking water sources, and endanger our state’s natural ecosystems.
The bill was passed out of committee on a partisan vote, with all Republicans on the committee voting to send the bill to general orders where it will be voted on by the entire body. (SF 4062)