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Skraba Sponsored Bill Establishing Framework for Gas and Oil Extraction in Minnesota Receives Important Committee Hearing

SAINT PAUL – Legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Roger Skraba, R-Ely, that establishes a regulatory framework for gas and oil produc­tion in the state received an important hearing in the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

House File 5350 is in response to the recent and historic discovery of helium deposits at the Topaz Project site near Babbitt. According to Pulsar Helium, the discovery revealed some of the highest concentrated levels of helium any­where in the world.

“Wednesday’s hearing was a critical next step in making sure that a regulatory frame­work is in place so that continued exploration and eventually extraction can take place here in Minnesota,” said Skraba. “Thank you to orga­nizations like Friends of the Boundary Waters and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy who have worked with us to make sure this legislation has broad support. While this year’s legislative session is winding down, I am working with DFL leadership in the House and Senate to make sure this bill has the nec­essary waivers so that it can continue its path and ideally be approved and signed into law by Governor Walz before the end of May.”

If signed into law, House File 5350 would immediately allow the DNR to lease state man­aged lands to prospect for nonpetroleum gas resources like helium. This will allow both roy­alty disbursements and rental payments to state and local governments to help benefit local communities, schools, and more.

“The entire region will benefit from this he­lium discovery with new job opportunities for residents, additional tax revenue for our local communities, and a robust domestic supply of a critical element needed to produce several modern technologies. The future is bright for the Northland, and I look forward to continuing to work with local and state officials to make sure this gets done.”

Rep. Skraba represents the area in Lake County where the helium discovery was made.

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