On a vote of 128-0, the House passed the Omnibus Legacy Finance bill on Monday that would appropriate 141.6-million dollars to clean water, enhance wetlands and fund arts and cultural projects.
Approximately 26-million dollars from the Clean Water Fund will go to the Board of Water and Soil Resources for five projects that include establishing a watershed plan, help farmers install buffers and restore drinking water and groundwater.
Legacy Funding Finance Committee Chair Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) says the bill will help bringing water up to the federal standards for surface and well water.
“Minnesota has a lot of water. Lake Superior has one-tenth of the worlds fresh water. But then you take the other bodies of water, the Mississippi, Lake of the Woods, Red Lake and all the other big bodies of water. Plus all the little ones. That’s probably another 4-percent or 3-percent of the worlds fresh water. Minnesota probably has 13 or 14-percent of the worlds fresh water. There’s gonna be a time when water is going to be as valuable as oil, if not more.”
The bill would also appropriate nearly 114-million dollars in 2019 for the Outdoor Heritage Fund to restore about 102-thousand acres of wildlife habitat across the state. Funding would go towards 47 programs that include habitat, prairie, forest and wetland projects. One of the projects includes 2.4-million dollars for the Fox Lake Conservation League in Martin County to purchase and establish public pheasant hunting land.
Around 1.3-million dollars will go towards the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund for a total of eight projects around the state.