Working Lands program advances in Senate, left out in House

by Trevor Russell
House file:   HF 2881 Authors: Rep. Johnson, CRarick; Bly
Senate file: SF 2711  Author: Sen. Schmidt

Throughout the 2016 session, legislators of both parties have demonstrated strong support for one of FMR's top 2016 policy priorities: a perennial biofuels incentive program. Dubbed the "Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program," the bills ask for funding for the state's Board of Water and Soil Resources to prepare a plan for creating a state-funded biofuels and green chemical incentive program.

The plan will help craft an incentive program to establish long-term contract payments for farm operations that grow perennial crops for biomass processing facilities, and prioritize those contracts in the areas where a transition to perennial crops will most benefit water quality.

While legislators of both parties voted unanimously to advance the bill in both chambers earlier in the session, the House and Senate have taken different positions regarding the provision while crafting their omnibus environmental bills.

While the Minnesota Senate has included the Working Lands provision in the Senate Omnibus Environment and Energy Bill, the Minnesota House of Representatives declined to include the provision in their Omnibus Environment & Natural Resources Finance bill.

Learn more about perennial biofuels and why they're important for the Mississippi River.

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