Minnesota House passes billion-dollar environmental bill

MN House passes environment budget bill

The bill would give $1.7 billion to state programs, departments, and agencies such as the DNR.

Lawmakers in the Minnesota House passed a billion-dollar environment budget bill on Monday night.

The bill, HF2310, sets aside $1.7 billion for state programs, departments, and agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The bill now heads to the Senate after it passed with a vote of 69-59 just before midnight on Monday. Proponents of the bill and DFL lawmakers say the provisions would invest nearly $350 million towards lower energy costs, more clean energy jobs, and fight climate change.

“We have the opportunity here today to problem solve, but also prevent future problems. In the environment, prevention is better than cleanup,” said Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-St. Paul).

Republican lawmakers who opposed the bill say the proposed fee increases are unnecessary.

“We’re talking about increased park fees, watercraft licenses, AIS surcharge, fishing licenses, hunting licenses and so on going up. And the cumulative impact is significant,” said Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R-Nisswa).

RELATED: DNR proposes $290 million budget, price increases to maintain parks and facilities

A part of the bill designates $3,011,000 over a two-year period for PFAS biomonitoring in the east metro area, including addressing environmental health risks like air quality.

RELATED: Bill that would ban PFAS, also known as ‘forever chemicals,’ gets first hearing Tuesday afternoon

The last day of the 2023 legislative session is May 22.