FARMFEST: Sen. Smith Works to Protect Environment and Conservation Practices

For Immediate Release:
August 4, 2020

Senator Tina Smith has proven her dedication to protecting Minnesota’s environment and water. Sen. Smith introduced legislation that would achieve net-zero emissions from the electric sector by mid-century and worked across the aisle on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In addition to protecting the environment, Sen. Smith has taken measures to help Minnesotans recover from natural disasters, such as securing millions in the Disaster Relief Act to help rural Minnesota communities recover from the 2018-2019 historic winter snowfall, widespread flooding and spring blizzards, and has warned of the dangers posed by climate change, especially to Minnesota farmers.


CBS3 Duluth: “Sen. Tina Smith Introduces Bill Aimed At Zero-Emission By 2050.” [CBS3 Duluth, 5/8/19]

Smith Said She Was “A Strong Supporter Of The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, And I Worked Across The Aisle With Republicans And Democrats To Increase Funding For The GLRI.” “SMITH: Like many Minnesotans, I have a personal connection to Minnesota’s lakes and forests, including the Boundary Waters, where my kids have spent many summers. I think all Minnesotans can agree on the need to protect environmentally sensitive areas, and that our policies should be based on sound science and the facts. For example, in the Senate, I have been working to push legislation through that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which invests millions in conservation efforts for Minnesota’s lands and waters. I am also a strong supporter of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), and I worked across the aisle with Republicans and Democrats to increase funding for the GLRI. We need to continue looking for ways to preserve and protect the natural resources that are so vital to our state.” [Duluth News Tribune, 10/27/18]

Smith Announced That The Forest Service Would Reappraise The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. “The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has rejected the 2018 appraisal of the federal lands within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness after much pressure from Lake, Cook, and St. Louis counties and federal legislators.  The U.S. Forest Service will reappraise the BWCAW, and while the new appraisal process is underway, the Forest Service will continue to make payments to the impacted counties based on the 2008 appraisal.  Every 10 years, the U.S. Forest Service appraises the BWCAW and pays each of the three counties one-quarter of 1% of the value of the land and sets the Thye-Blatnik Act-authorized payments in-lieu-of-taxes (PILT) for the next decade. […] On Friday, Dec. 20, U.S. senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber announced the U.S. Forest Service will reappraise the BWCAW.” [Duluth News Tribune, 12/20/19]

Smith And The Minnesota Congressional Delegation Urged FEMA To Provide Additional Financial Assistance To The State And Undertake A Full Review Of The Procedures It Relied On In Developing Its Estimate Of The Damages From Severe Weather And Widespread Flooding In The Spring Of 2019 In Minnesota. “In a letter this week, the Minnesota congressional delegation urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide additional financial assistance to the state and undertake a full review of the procedures it relied on in developing its estimate of the damages from severe weather and widespread flooding in the spring of 2019 in Minnesota.  Historic snowfall, ice and melting snow caused widespread flooding and significant infrastructure damage across the state in the spring of 2019, affecting at least 51 counties and four tribal nations. After a preliminary damage assessment of $40 million, FEMA later finalized the damage assessment at $76 million, almost twice the original assessment and requiring additional state resources.” [Brainerd Dispatch, 2/14/20]

Smith Said Studies Showed That The Impacts Of Climate Change Were Happening “More Rapidly And With A Bigger Impact In The Great Lakes Area.” “Smith: Sure. Well, there have been some really interesting studies looking at the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes area. And what it tells us is that the impacts of climate change are happening more rapidly and with a bigger impact in the Great Lakes area, where Minnesota is right on the border of the Lake Superior, than other parts of the country. So this is deeply concerning. We’re seeing not only more warming in the Great Lakes region, outpacing warming in other parts of the country, but also the frequency and the intensity of storm events in the Great Lakes area are happening more than we’re seeing in other parts of the country.” [Resources Magazine, Interview with Sen. Smith, 10/29/19]

Smith Helped Secure $150 Million In Grants To Help Rural Minnesota Communities Recover From Natural Disasters. “U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced funding Tuesday for rural Minnesota communities affected by natural disasters this past spring. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making $150 million in grants available through the Community Facilities Program to help rural communities continue recovery from the effects of natural disasters, according to a press release. Examples of essential community facilities include hospitals, nursing homes, courthouses, street improvements, child care centers, police stations, fire departments, libraries and food  banks, among others.  […] The $150 million is included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Trump signed into law on June 6. The grants may be used for relief in natural disasters areas where the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided a notice declaring a major disaster declaration and assigned a FEMA disaster recovery number.” [Albert Lea Tribune, 9/10/19]

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