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Money for Clean Water Starts Flowing In MN

July 8, 2009

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota's waterways will soon get a scrub-down, thanks to some new cool cash flowing into state coffers. The money has started to come in this month after Minnesota voters last November passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, providing for a state sales tax increase to go to the environment and the arts.

Projects include cleaning the bay where the St. Louis River meets the Duluth harbor and the Root River study in southeastern Minnesota to stop land runoff. But Paul Aasen of Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy says the biggest project is funding enforcement of the national Clean Water Act, an effort that will take cooperation from all Minnesotans.

"Teamwork is absolutely the bottom line. Everything is connected, and so we have to make sure that our thinking and our technicians and our scientists and our policymakers are all connected too."

The sales tax increase will bring in an estimated $234 million dollars a year over the next quarter-century.

Aasen says voter approval of the tax hike is proof that Minnesotans take pride in their own backyard.

"It's a privilege to work in a state where people care this much, and it's also a responsibility that we're going to try to make sure gets carried out."

The tax money will also be used for land preservation and funding for parks and the arts.

Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MN