Today Senate Republicans unveiled their Environment and Natural Resources funding bill that streamlines environmental regulations while preserving important programs that safeguard Minnesota nature and wildlife. By eliminating wasteful spending and consolidating funding streams, Republicans have planned a $274.1 million budget that advances our economy and keeps our air and water safe and clean.
While the overall budget target remains about the same, Republicans restructure funding so that over 75 percent of the environment budget comes from sources other than the General Fund. This frees up $90 million over the next four years for the state to put into other priorities such as schools, health care, or tax relief.
“Whether it’s fishing, camping, hunting or boating, Minnesota offers a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy,” said Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), Chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee. “This bill protects our rivers, lakes, parks, and forests so families can keep enjoying the outdoors for years to come.”
In addition to achieving budgetary efficiencies, the bill includes reforms to speed up commerce and reduce government waste. Policy changes will help the private sector grow by expediting the Pollution Control Agency (PCA) permit process and modifying the enforcement of unadopted rules. Other reforms are aimed at streamlining agency functions and incorporating more public input to avoid government overreach and increase transparency.
The new budget plan is set to make an immediate impact on environmental conservation by emphasizing enforcement. Focusing on enforcement is a proactive measure that will help prevent the spread of invasive species and mobilize agencies to make a real difference outdoors. Meanwhile, Republicans would bump funding to improve parks and trails and invest in forestry and river management.
“As the land of 10,000 lakes, our environment is a defining feature of our state, and has helped Minnesotans to lead an active, healthy lifestyle,” said Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa). “Preserving our landscape is an important priority for Senate Republicans, and this bill helps to advance Minnesota recreation and conservation so we all can take full advantage of our beautiful scenery.”