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ST. PAUL, Minn. (CAP) - Lawmakers in the Minnesota Senate have overwhelmingly passed a bill that calls for unprecedented levels of state funding to be spent on fighting the record-setting cold that persists throughout most of the state. With passage in the House last week, the bill now goes to Gov. Pawlenty to be signed into law.
"This vote is not just a vote for global warming," said Sen. Lawrence Pogemiller as the final vote of SF0803 was read. "This vote is a vote for the people of Minnesota!"
Dubbed the "Aerosol Act of 2007," the measure puts five contracts out to bid across the North Star state, with the lowest bidders spending the next six months performing industrial CFC spraying across the region's coldest areas. The goal, says the bill's sponsors, is to eat away a small portion of the ozone over Minnesota in order to allow for a wholesale increase in temperatures for residents.
Environmental activists called the bill "a nearsighted step in the wrong direction," but lawmakers from both sides didn't buy the argument.
"And to that, I say - my children are cold," said Sen. Leo Foley. "My children's children are cold. And if they had children - they, too, would be cold."
Senators who voted against the bill said they did so because they don't believe it goes far enough to solve Minnesota's temperature issues this winter. However, proponents of the bill said they felt this winter was "too little too late" and were hoping to take steps to protect residents for many winters to come.
The bill is not expected to encounter any roadblocks passing the Governor's desk. Similar bills have been raised in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Massachusetts. Another bill calling for sanctions against the wind remains stuck in committee in the Minnesota House.