Four state agency heads have weighed in against the environment budget bills that are currently in conference committee.
As the House and Senate conferees held their first meeting on Friday, they received testimony from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Paul Aasen. He distributed a letter that listed 14 points of concern with the House and Senate bills.
“The proposed significant reductions to General Fund allocations, loss of revenues to the Environmental Fund and cap on dollars going to the Remediation Fund will have serious consequences to our activities,” Aasen wrote.
He singled out the House elimination of $4.3 million in Clean Water Partnership grants to local governments. The Senate reduces the grants by $650,000. He also said the Senate’s cap on transfers of dollars from the Environmental Fund to the Remediation Fund would reduce remediation efforts by $5.6 million.
Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr submitted a letter that said the reductions to the agencies’ Division of Lands and Minerals and Division Ecological and Water Resources would result in delays in the time it takes to issue environmental permits.
“The department is deeply concerned with several budget and policy provisions contained within the bills and believes the economic impacts of these provisions will hinder future economic growth of the state’s important natural resource-based economies,” Landwehr wrote.
Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman and Board of Water and Soil Resources Executive Director John Jaschke also submitted letters of concern about the bill.