Action Alert: Legacy Bill – Support Forever Green & oppose unconstitutional raids [CLOSED]
The Omnibus Legacy Finance Conference Committee is currently debating how to invest Minnesota's Clean Water Fund dollars for the next two years as a part of the Omnibus Legacy Finance bill.
There are three key issues at stake, and we hope you'll reach out to your representatives and senators and urge them to act accordingly on each.
1. SUPPORT: $4.5 million for the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative. Forever Green is a research and market development program creating the next generation of "clean-water crops" like Kernza and Camelina that reduce runoff pollution, improve habitat and boost farm prosperity.
2. OPPOSE: Unconstitutional raids. Both the House and Senate versions of the Clean Water Fund bill violate a core constitutional premise of dedicated environmental: it is not to be used as a substitute for traditional funding sources.
- Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP): Both the House ($2 million) and the Senate ($15.5 million) propose funding for CREP. CREP has traditionally been funded through a state bonding bill (not the Clean Water Fund).
- Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs): Both the House ($12 million) and the Senate ($24 million) propose using the Clean Water Fund as base funding for SCWDs. Local government operations, including SWCD operations, have historically been funded through a combination of state general funds and local funds (not the Clean Water Fund).
While funding for CREP and SWCDs is important, lawmakers must respect the will of the voters (and the state's constitution) and refrain from using the Clean Water Fund as a substitute for traditional sources of funding.
3. SUPPORT: In the event that CREP and SWCD funding is provided for elsewhere in the budget process, there are opportunities for those funds to go towards a trio of really important initiatives: Forever Green, lead service line replacement and soil health initiatives. All three would benefit from additional investment made available by avoiding raids for CREP and SWCDs.
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