Senator Foung Hawj Celebrates Bipartisan Passage of Environment and Natural Resources Budget Bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Today the Senate passed the Senate Environment and Natural Resources supplemental budget bill authored by Senator Foung Hawj (DFL – St. Paul). Senator Hawj serves as Chair of the Senate Environment, Climate and Legacy Committee. 

“This legislation advances Minnesota in our efforts to reduce waste and increase access to recycling statewide, strengthen pollution reduction efforts, and expand access to our cherished outdoor recreational activities to all Minnesotans,” Senator Hawj. “I am proud of the work our committee accomplished this session to protect Minnesota’s natural resources and ensure the safety of the air we breathe and water we drink.”

Waste Reduction and Recycling

The legislation includes the Packaging Waste and Cost Reduction Act which establishes a statewide program funded by producers of packaging and paper products and overseen by the MPCA to collect, recycle and reuse packaging and paper products. The program aims to incentivize producers to choose reusable and recyclable packaging materials for their products. Counties often have to spend four to five times more on recycling efforts than what they receive in state funding; costs which are ultimately passed on to consumers. 

Other provisions included to advance waste reduction and reduction includes a study for recycling electronic waste, Critical Materials Recovery Taskforce, Keep it Clean program, and more. 

Pollution Reduction and Environmental Justice

HF3911 supports pollution reduction and enforcement, especially in areas of environmental justice concern and long-term planning to prepare the state and our local communities for the impacts of climate change.

  • Establishes new positions dedicated to monitoring and enforcement to help the state identify and put a stop to violations by industrial polluters in vulnerable communities. 
  • Enhancements to the Pollution Control Agency’s ability to hold permit violators accountable and allow the agency to act more quickly to protect communities from industrial polluters.
  • Establishes a grant program through the Board of Water and Soil Resources to enhance groundwater protection and reduce agricultural-related greenhouse gas emissions. Grants will be focused on areas with high groundwater nitrate levels or vulnerable geology. 

Access to Outdoor Recreation

This bill makes significant investments to modernize and expand access to the state’s outdoor recreation activities including:

  • Electronic game and fish licenses
  • Outdoor Schools for All program
  • Funding for off-road vehicle programs and trail improvements. 
  • Funding for fishing piers at metro parks
  • Fishing in the Neighborhood program
  • Connecting Youth to underserved communities to outdoor experiences.

The Environment and Natural Resources supplemental budget bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 40-27 and awaits consideration in conference committee.

Senator Foung Hawj
Foung Hawj represents District 67, which includes the east side of Saint Paul in Ramsey County in the central Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Learn more about Sen. Hawj.

Read more news from Sen. Hawj.
Senator Foung Hawj on EmailSenator Foung Hawj on FacebookSenator Foung Hawj on Flickr