House to vote on water fee hikes, sand mining

10:54 AM, Apr 18, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Clashes over water fee hikes and sand mining are expected on the House floor.

The House is expected to vote on a wide-ranging, $837 million budget Thursday afternoon, funding the Department of Natural Resources, pollution control efforts and agricultural programming.

But the bill would increase water fees for farmers' irrigation systems from $10 per million gallons to $22 per million gallons. That's less than an original proposal to bump it up to $35 per million gallons. It also includes almost $3 million for a state board to establish standards for silica sand mining, a booming industry in southeastern Minnesota.

Those changes could expose rifts in the Democratic majority between rural and urban members.

The Senate version is expected to be voted on later this week.

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