Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to report H.R. 5544, the Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act, to the House for consideration. Introduced by U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack, this legislation would finalize the bipartisan, state-passed plan to give the state-owned land in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) to the federal government in exchange for giving Minnesota an equal amount federal land outside of the BWCAW.
"While much work remains, today we have never been closer to resolving this 30 year problem than we are now. As I have said, it is my promise to do my very best to move H.R. 5544 through the House of Representatives and pass the baton to our Senators. With continued diligence, and support of our Senators, I have no doubt that we will bring this win for our state across the finish line," said Rep. Cravaack.
Today, approximately 86,000 acres of inaccessible state-owned school trust lands remain locked within the borders of the BWCAW. Due to their location in a federal wilderness area, these school trust lands cannot be managed to generate Minnesota public education funding and job growth.
Importantly, in accordance with the Minnesota State Constitution, school trust lands must produce maximum revenues for public education.
"Minnesota schools need and deserve a multi-generational revenue stream from mining, timber sales, and leasing from these newly exchanged school lands -- not a one-time buyout that will not create jobs. The Committee's decision today indicates that we are headed in the right direction. I am confident that we will be successful because obstacles to progress cannot last forever. It is our legal obligation to resolve this matter, and it is our duty to future generations of Minnesotans. I think we can all agree: Minnesota teachers deserve the best tools to make our schools the best in the country." said Rep. Cravaack.
Representative Cravaack serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- where he is Vice Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee -- the Homeland Security Committee, and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The 8th Congressional District covers 18 counties in Northeast Minnesota.