$1.8 billion bonding bill passes House committee, future unclear

The latest version of the House’s $1.8 billion bonding bill includes almost $10.2 million for the water treatment plant slated to be constructed this year in Bemidji.

There is much uncertainty on the bill’s future, as seven Republicans would need to vote in favor of it in order for it to pass the House, and as of yet, there is no Senate companion bill. 

Republicans have repeatedly promised to block the bill’s passage if Gov. Tim Walz doesn’t relinquish his emergency powers, which were recently extended another 30 days, despite Republican efforts to stop the extension in the House and Senate. 

The water treatment plant is being designed to remove PFAs from the city’s drinking water, which are tied to the use of firefighting foam used at the airport, above the well field.

Bemidji’s bonding request includes language that if litigation against the manufacturer of the foam is successful, the city would reimburse the state up to $4 million.

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