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The package has a heavy focus on groundwater policy and funding.
(Published May 28, 2013)
The environment, natural resources, and agriculture budget (Chapter 114) passed by the Legislature includes approximately $350 million per year in funding for the various state environmental agencies. A number of the issues addressed in the package are of interest to cities.
One of the highest profile issues was the house proposal to increase water appropriation permit fees by over $6 million per year to fund important research on groundwater supply and quality. The final deal funded the research, but used general fund money to do that instead of fee increases.
New requirements and procedural changes were also made related to the permitting of new wells to make sure that water supply and sustainability issues are looked at prior to the well being drilled as much as is possible. Also, when the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) designates an area as a groundwater management area due to sustainability concerns about water appropriations and use, the agency can extend permit requirements below the current minimum of 10,000 gallons per day or 1 million gallons per year.
The other major controversial area addressed in the bill relates to new requirements related to the mining of industrial silica (frac) sand in southeastern Minnesota. This measure:
A new product stewardship program is also created for manufacturers of architectural paint products. Paint manufacturers will collect waste and unused paint products and handle the disposal, reuse, or recycling of those products, as appropriate. The industry was supportive of the solution. Similar proposed programs related to primary batteries and waste carpet were not included in the final legislative package.
A more detailed summary of the spending and policy provisions of this legislation will appear in the League’s 2013 Law Summaries. The governor has not yet acted on this bill.
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Contact Craig Johnson
(651) 281-1259 or (800) 925-1122
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