Legislation creating a special fund for money received by the state from its $850 million settlement with 3M Company passed the Senate on Sunday. The bill, authored by Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point), passed with unanimous support and awaits action by the governor.
“I am very grateful for the unanimous passage of this bill by the Senate, recognizing the need to make sure the money from the lawsuit settlement is spent appropriately,” said Senator Housley. “With this dedicated fund and oversight provisions, the legislature can guarantee this money will go toward the initiatives intended by the settlement – a guarantee communities in the east metro will have access to safe, clean drinking water and wells.”
The legislation creates a special account to house funds from the settlement and any earnings from its investment. The funds will go toward water quality initiatives in east metro communities affected by groundwater contamination, including Oakdale, Lake Elmo, Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Afton, Newport, West Lakeland Township, and Grey Cloud Island Township. The fund will be administered by the Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources, which must submit reports to the legislature on fund expenditures and future spending plans.
“The legislation directs the Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources to work with the affected communities, along with the 3M Company, to identify and recommend projects that could be funded using this account,” Senator Housley continued. “This gives leaders a good framework for moving forward on how to best address the environmental needs of communities in the eastern metropolitan area.”
Senator Karin Housley, of St. Marys Point, is in her second term representing District 39, which includes Stillwater, Forest Lake, Lake Elmo, and other communities in Chisago and Washington counties. She serves as chairwoman of the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee.