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The Walz-Flanagan Administration’s proposed budget for the 2024 legislative session included numerous priorities that will help the MPCA advance its work to ensure that every Minnesotan has healthy air, sustainable lands, clean water, and a better climate.

Learn more about these initiatives: Legislative reports and fact sheets

2024 Session wrap-up: New laws to protect our environment and health

The Minnesota Legislature passed many of MPCA's policy initiatives and funding requests in the Walz/Flanagan administration’s supplemental budget that will protect our environment and human health. 

These investments and policy updates will help our agency ensure that every Minnesotan has healthy air, sustainable lands, clean water, and a better climate. 

Protecting environmental justice communities

The Walz/Flanagan administration prioritized funding and policy changes to protect environmental justice communities from the impacts of pollution by supporting several proposals.  

The Legislature approved funding for 15 new employees in the MPCA’s air unit to monitor emissions, issue permits, respond to complaints, and carry out enforcement actions in environmental justice communities. Legislators also approved funding for a new mobile air monitoring trailer, which will help the PCA respond nimbly to potential air permit violations in EJ areas.

The legislature clarified the agency’s enforcement powers for polluters, including the providing stronger tools to act quickly in certain situation to protect human health and the environment.

Building a new nitrate sensor network

MPCA has secured funding to expand our understanding of nitrate pollution through enhanced water quality monitoring using nitrate sensors. These sensors are a more efficient way to gather essential data to protect drinking water sources from nitrate pollution

The Legislature directed $2 million for MPCA to build out a continuous monitoring network to measure nitrate pollution in surface water. These “always-on sensors” will show us how nitrate levels change in real time.  The sensors will record how nitrate levels change in response to precipitation events, such as a rainstorm.

High levels of nitrate are increasingly common in the southern half of the state, where in some areas, contamination impacts both private and community drinking water systems.

Reducing waste across Minnesota

Upgrading our systems to reduce and better manage waste is a critical part of the MPCA’s work to protect Minnesota’s environment. To best reduce and manage waste, we need to know more about the type of waste Minnesotans produce and how much ends up in landfills, the Legislature passed a new law that requires all waste disposal facilities in Minnesota to conduct waste composition studies every 10 years. This will help state, county, city, and local governments, the private waste industry, and nonprofits create waste management strategies with the greatest environmental and economic impact.

The MPCA will also help implement a new law that requires businesses, packaging manufacturers, and distributors to cover the costs of recycling product packaging in Minnesota. The legislation creates an “extended producer responsibility” program to reduce problematic and unnecessary packaging and prioritize reduction and reuse. Under the new law, industry will be required to cover 90% of packaging recycling costs by 2031. Minnesota is the fifth state in the U.S. to create an extended producer responsibility program.