LCCMR Bill – HF 1265 (SF 550) – SNA and Prairie Program Slashed!

This Monday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to adopt HF 1265 (the LCCMR bill), with the following amendments:

The A-11 amendment adds back the LCCMR recommendations for a wolf re-colonization assessment project, an acquisition to Minneopa State Park (to allow more acreage for a bison herd), a carp program, and a Metropolitan Regional Park acquisition.  Adopted by unanimous voice vote. (See attachment.)

The A-12 amendment adds language about no-net gain for counties situated in whole or in part north of Highway 2. (See attachment.) There was much discussion by committee members on the no-net gain language. Bob Meier (DNR lobbyist) explained the DNR’s concerns.  Notably, Rep. Urdahl (Republican) spoke against the amendment, citing a need to support the intent of Minnesotans who voted for a constitutional amendment to establish the environment and natural resources trust fund. Rep. Urdahl also read a letter from a constituent, who was angry about the no-net gain proposal. Adopted by a divided voice vote.

LCCMR Vice-Chair Nancy Gibson (a Governor Pawlenty appointee) testified in support of the LCCMR’s recommendations. Ms. Gibson asked to reinstate all deleted projects. (See attachment.)

Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL) was the only committee member to point out that many of the deleted projects pertain to climate change and solar energy.

HF 1265 now goes to the House floor for a vote by the entire body.

I have also attached a 5-page spreadsheet (provided to the Ways and Means Committee).  I have added stars after the deleted projects. (After I scanned this document, note that I missed placing a star after the “Mississippi River Habitat Restoration Planning at Halls Island.”)

Of particular note is the deletion of LCCMR’s recommendation of $4.5 million for the SNA program and $3.5 million for “Native Prairie Stewardship and Prairie Bank Acquisition.”

I encourage everyone to voice their concerns by contacting their own Representative.

The companion bill is Senate File 550, which is currently in the Senate Finance Committee.  The Senate bill retains the LCCMR recommendations of $4.5 million for the SNA program and $3.5 million Native Prairie Stewardship and Prairie Bank Acquisition. I recommend that everyone contact their own Senator and the Senators on the Finance Committee and request that they retain the LCCMR’s recommendations.

In my opinion, the most important contact is Governor Dayton. Very soon, this bill will pass the legislature with many unacceptable provisions.  Therefore, please call and/or write to Governor Dayton and ask him to veto the bill if the LCCMR recommendations are not followed.

Thank you for your interest.  Please contact me any time if you have questions or comments.

Best Wishes,

Tom Casey
tom.casey AT mnnps.org

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