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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeNewsSenator Hauschild Calls the Environment Omnibus Bill the ‘Northern Minnesota Bill

Senator Hauschild Calls the Environment Omnibus Bill the ‘Northern Minnesota Bill

The Omnibus Bill includes Hauschild’s royalty framework for helium mining, permitting reforms, funding for ATV trails and the Ely Wolf Center.

[SAINT PAUL, MN] — In a biparti­san vote of 37-30 late Friday night, the Minnesota Senate passed a final Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources bill that included several measures chiefly authored by Senator Grant Hauschild (DFL-Herman­town). This includes a new royalty framework for helium exploration in Northern Minnesota, essential to allowing local communities and the state to capture the benefits from the recent helium deposit discov­ered near Babbitt.

“The Environment Omnibus Bill should be referred to as the North­ern Minnesota Bill because a vast majority of the provisions benefit Northern Minnesota. From a He­lium Royalty framework to ATV Trail Funding and Permitting Re­form we are focused on delivering for the Northland.” said Sen. Haus­child.

Additional policy language pro­posed by Sen. Hauschild included in the bill is permitting reform that would allow projects to request coordinated agency planning for certain environmental permits, with the stated goal of maximizing coordination, effectiveness, trans­parency, and accountability within the environmental review process. The bill also includes his proposal to create a critical materials recov­ery taskforce that will look at ways to increase the recovery of critical materials from end-of-life prod­ucts.

“These new policies will reduce the red tape that can get in the way of economic development and help us recover the critical materials that power our modern economy,” said Sen. Hauschild. “This is a major step forward in supporting our busi­ness community while maintaining a smart approach to oversight.”

The bill also includes funding for several Northland projects. The International Wolf Center in Ely will receive $1.332 million, and the Prospectors Loop Trail will receive $1.2 million. Sen. Hauschild was also able to secure $1.5 million in funding for the state’s ATV Grant-in-Aid program, which facilitates the development and maintenance of trails for use by All-Terrain Vehi­cles (ATVs), Off-Highway Mo­torcycles (OHMs), and Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) at the initiative of enthusiast groups or clubs, with the support and participation of local government sponsors.

“We are blessed in Northern Min­nesota to have so many wonderful outdoor recreational assets and op­portunities, and this bill invests in expanding these opportunities to allow more people to enjoy them,” said Sen. Hauschild.

While an earlier version of the bill included funding for the Outdoor Schools for All Grant Program, it was not included in the final ver­sion of the bill. Sen. Hauschild vowed to fight for this provision in the 2025 Legislative Session.

“I look forward to working in a new budget year to secure fund­ing for the Outdoor Schools for All Grant Program to make sure Min­nesota’s students can experience our outdoor heritage,” added Sen. Hauschild.”

The Omnibus Environmental and Natural Resources supplemental bill (HF 3911) now moves to the Governor, who is expected to sign it into law soon.

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