Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Environment

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

Apr 5, 2017 In The News

Wandering 4,600 miles through America’s rugged northern heartlands, the North Country Trail (NCT) stretches across seven states and is the longest National Scenic Trail maintained completely by the dedication of local volunteers. It brings outdoor enthusiasts and hikers through our region. Some come with the endeavor to thru-hike the entire trail, others find their way onto a section of the NCT each year.

Apr 5, 2017 In The News

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep Rick Nolan in a letter Friday urged President Donald Trump to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately engage with local and state governments, as well as fisheries and other interested groups, to implement a long-term solution for keeping Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes. Nolan also urged that in the meantime, Trump should reverse the decision to suspend the vital ongoing study at Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Ill., a news release said.

Apr 5, 2017 In The News

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KDAL) - Minnesota 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan is urging President Trump to reconsider his decision to suspend a study designed to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan.

Nolan says the suspension "jeopardizes numerous industries in Minnesota and Wisconsin including our nation's 7 billion dollar sport fishing market." 

In a letter to the President, Nolan says efforts to solve the problem is "mired in bureaucratic inaction" and further delays would increase the "likelihood of an irreversible inundation of this highly destructive invasive species." 

Mar 16, 2017 Press Release

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today responded to President Trump’s proposed budget:

“I’m gravely concerned by President Trump’s drastic proposed cuts to vital programs that Minnesotans value and depend on,” Nolan said. “The simple truth is these massive cuts to funding for environmental protection, education, transportation and housing is bad for our national economy and national security.”

Mar 7, 2017 Press Release

U.S. Rep Rick Nolan has reintroduced legislation to ensure all of the lands within the boundary of Voyageurs National Park will be managed consistently.

Mar 6, 2017 Press Release

U.S. Rep Rick Nolan today urged President Donald Trump to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately engage with local and state governments, as well as fisheries and other interested groups, to implement a long-term solution for keeping Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes and in the meantime, reverse the decision to suspend the vital ongoing study at Brandon Road lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois.

Feb 9, 2017 Press Release

Now and forever, I am unequivocally committed to prohibiting mining in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), ensuring the integrity of a tough environmental review process, creating good paying jobs, and protecting ALL the waters of Minnesota and the Nation as sacred trusts for countless generations to come. One of the most critical challenges of our time is balancing the responsibility to preserve and protect our precious environment with the need for mining and good paying jobs. We have the brains, the advanced technology, the need and the political will to do

Feb 1, 2017 Press Release

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today released the followed statement:

“As an original cosponsor of the legislation that established the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) as a wilderness area - which prohibits any commercial development, mining or otherwise, in the wilderness - I am forever committed to protecting the BWCA, the environmental review process and all the waters of Minnesota and the Nation.

Jan 25, 2017 In The News

In a major victory last month for the people, businesses, and communities in Minnesota which rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs and way of life, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that authorizes $1.5 billion for region-wide Great Lakes restoration investments. The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, formerly known as the Water Resources Development Act, received bi-partisan support in both the House and the Senate.