Tuesday, Chris Steller reported in the Session Daily, Conferees on jobs and energy begin to iron out their differences:
John Linc Stine, commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency, highlighted a policy concern with the House bill, which would prohibit spending money from the Clean Air Act settlement with Volkswagen without legislative approval. He said the provision puts Minnesota’s $47 million share of the national settlement at risk.
Midwest Energy News' Frank Jossi fleshes out that concern in Advocates leery as Minnesota legislators seek role in VW settlement:
As Minnesota lawmakers seek more oversight over how $47 million in Volkswagen settlement funds are spent, advocates warn bills in the legislature could cause the state to lose the money altogether.
Attorney Leili Fatehi, owner and principal of the nonprofit Apparatus, says the consent decree requires that states follow a certain process in distributing money from the settlement and several proposed bills could negate the settlement.
“It’s pretty reckless legislation,” said Fatehi, who would like to see some of the money spent on environmental justice initiatives to help clean up disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The debate over who gets to hold the purse strings of the settlement money pits the governor’s office and executive branch against legislators who firmly believe they should – and will – have a say in which projects receive money.
“The big concern is making sure that there aren’t bills that prevent Minnesota getting funding,” said Brendan Jordan, who helps lead the Great Plain Institute’s Drive Electric Minnesota initiative.
“The settlement is very specific how the money can be spent and what it can be spent on in a very specific time frame. There are things the Legislature could do on appropriating the money that could result in the state not getting anything.”
Oops. Read the rest at Midwest Energy News. It does sound like the eagerness of Minnesota House Republicans to get their mitts on this "pot o' money" could leave Minnesotans with all of the emissions and none of the cash from the private settlement.
Here's Commissioner John Linc Stine's letter to the conference committee members:
Photo: Jossi notes in Midwest Energy News:
Key to the 225-page consent decree is that a government agency with full legal authority must be appointed to receive payments that will then be directed to projects, Fatehi said.
The money is being managed by the Wilmington Trust and it will approve every project submitted by every state. The process of certifying states to receive settlement funds is expected to begin in May.
In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton selected the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which already has had three public meetings focused on the settlement money and plans for four or five more around the state.
Lawmakers, however, wants a say in what the MPCA uses the consent decree money for. They want to have the power to appropriate the money that will go for projects, rather than the MPCA. . . .
That might cost us.
If you appreciate our posts and original analysis, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen, 33166 770th Ave, Ortonville, MN 56278) or use the paypal button in the upper right hand corner of this post. Those wishing to make a small ongoing monthly contribution should click on the paypal subscription button.
Or you can contribute via this link to paypal; use email email@example.com as recipient.