Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Protecting Our Out of Doors

In Minnesota, we live for the great out-of-doors. We hunt, fish, bike, hike, boat, and camp in and along forests, lakes, and trails we treasure for their unspoiled cleanliness and beauty. The Nolan homestead in rural Crosby is a regular gathering place for 5 generations of Nolans who together tap maple syrup in spring, harvest wild rice in the fall, and never miss a hunting or fishing opener. As Congressman, I am determined to preserve our natural treasures for ourselves and our children, and I do everything in my power to advance laws and policies that protect our precious environment, use our resources wisely, and serve our national interest. 

I’m proud to sit on two Subcommittees – the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, and the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry – that enable me to promote the economic and ecological vitality of our northeastern Minnesota waterways, forests and farmlands, as well as our ability to produce clean energy to fuel manufacturing and generate good paying middle-class jobs for years to come.

In that regard, I am particularly proud of my amendments to the Water Resources Reform and Development bill (WRRDA) to close the St. Anthony Lock & Dam in Minneapolis, and expand the definition of “invasive species” to include all animal life – in order to prevent invasive species like invasive carp and zebra mussels from taking over our Minnesota waterways, destroying native habitats and threatening our multi-billion dollar sport fishing and tourist industry.

  • Read my op-ed in the Duluth News Tribune about my amendments to the Water Resources bill that prevent the spread of invasive species into our waterways.

Preserving Wildlife Habitat

  • I'm working on legislation supported by conservation groups to encourage farmers to preserve native prairie grasses and many of the measures I worked to include in the 2013 Farm Bill - protecting the Conservation Title, as well as other conservation priorities - are now public law.
  • I've urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director, Dan Ashe, to take into consideration any and all harmful effects on our northern Minnesota timber industry, if the northern long-eared bat is placed on the endangered species list. We should be studying the true cause of the bat's population decline - a fungus known as white-nose syndrome - and not habitat destruction. Read my letter here.
  • I fully support reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), which helps to conserve North America's waterfowl, fish, and wildlife resources. Minnesota currently has 93 NAWCA projects, successfully conserving more than 200,000 acres of wildlife habitat, and I will continue to support and fight for funding for these worthy projects that benefit our environment.
  • I introduced the North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act (H.R. 799), bipartisan legislation which would reroute the current North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) - a 4,600-mile trail linking seven states from North Dakota to Vermont - to avoid significant wetlands and bogs in Minnesota. My bill would also link the NCT up with the popular Appalachian Trail in Vermont, creating a unified trail system.

Common Sense policies + Environmental Protection

The battle for environmental protection is ongoing. To be sure, we’ve made great progress from the days when our rivers were catching on fire, the air over our towns and cities was hazy brown, and our land was spoiled with contaminated Superfund sites. Yet there is still much more work to do, understanding that in the long run, sound economic policies and sound environmental policies go hand in hand. The time is long past when America had to choose between jobs and clean air, water, and land.

With that in mind, I will continue to fight and work for common-sense laws and policies requiring mining, energy transportation and manufacturing to be done right, using the latest proven 21st-century products and technologies to protect the environment, lower our carbon footprint, cut back on pollution, and create good paying middle class jobs.

That’s why I’ve introduced and/or sponsored legislation to require American and international companies adhere to our strictest health, safety, and environmental standards, as well as to provide tax incentives to renewable energy producers, to encourage the timber industry to explore new uses for wood biofuels and advanced wood products, and to offer incentives for farmers to preserve native grasslands.

  • During debate on the Farm Bill, I added an amendment to direct the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory to conduct research demonstrating the benefits of wood as an environmentally-friendly building material. Since then, the USDA has begun a million-dollar program to promote the many uses of wood in energy and advanced technology. Read more about my work to promote wood-based bioproducts here.

I introduced the landmark American Pipeline Jobs & Safety Act to require that all pipeline laid in the United States be made from safe and reliable American steel, helping to prevent future environmental disasters such as oil spills due to faulty pipelines.

  • Read more about my American Pipeline Jobs & Safety Act.
  • Watch me speak before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee about the dangers of "fast-tracking" pipeline construction. 
  • Watch me speak in opposition to H.R.3, the Northern Route Approval Act, which would have authorized the Keystone XL pipeline by exempting a foreign corporation from our health, safety, and environmental standards of accountability.

More on Environment

Jan 12, 2018 Press Release

[WASHINGTON D.C.] U.S. Rep Rick Nolan today called on the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to continue using the Ely Municipal Airport as an arrival port for fire-fighting C-130 aircrafts.


The Ely Municipal Airport was recently renovated specifically to improve the runway’s ability to handle C-130’s. However, the USFS recently indicated that it is considering no longer using the Ely Airport for C-130s – a change which would make it more difficult for the USFS to effectively fight fires in the Ely region.


Dec 4, 2017 the Monday Report

House Overwhelmingly Passes Nolan’s Superior National Forest Land Exchange Bill 

Bipartisan Margin was 309-99

Under our Superior National Forest Land Exchange bill, taxpayers will receive more lakeshore, more timber, more wild rice waters, and more wetlands for public enjoyment and recreation.

Dear Friend, 

Nov 27, 2017 the Monday Report

Saving Minnesota’s Loons - Before It’s Too Late

These iconic Minnesota loons are swimming near Ely, on Minnesota’s Iron Range. 

Dear Friend,

Aug 15, 2017 In The News

Mining copper and nickel on Minnesota’s Iron Range and addressing global climate change are compatible, complementary and essential to our way of life. We have the brains, the technology and the need to do both.

Jul 27, 2017 Press Release

The U.S. House of Representatives last night passed U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act to increase funding for the U.S Army Corps of Engineers’ Aquatic Nuisance Control Program by nearly 50%.

Jul 26, 2017 In The News

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed zebra mussels were found in Lake Edward and the Mahnomen Mine Pit No. 1 in Crow Wing County.

A DNR invasive species specialist confirmed an adult zebra mussel in the beach area of a Lake Edward resort north of Merrifield. The DNR confirmed a second zebra mussel about a half-mile from the initial report site, a news release from the agency said Thursday.

Jul 26, 2017 In The News

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan has joined the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus.

The Democrat from northeastern Minnesota announced Friday that he was the first Minnesotan to do so and that he also recruited Rep. David Joyce, an Ohio Republican, to join him.

Jul 26, 2017 In The News

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KDAL) - The U-S House Great Lakes Task Force that includes Congressmen Rick Nolan of Minnesota and Sean Duffy of Wisconsin released a statement last week after news that an Asian carp was caught past protective barriers about nine miles from Lake Michigan.

The statement says the news is deeply troubling and is further evidence that action must be taken to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of invasive carp.

Jul 26, 2017 In The News

Republicans and Democrats on Congress on Wednesday introduced legislation that would push the Trump administration to stop delaying a key effort to stop the Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes.

Scientists say that, without active measures, invasive Asian carp are sure to move for the Illinois River system into the Great Lakes, probably in the Chicago area into Lake Michigan.

The draft report was ready to be released in February until the White House blocked the report’s release