Groups urge vetoes over environmental trust fund ‘raid’

Environmental and conservation groups urge Gov. Mark Dayton to use his line-item veto power to cancel $98 million in projects funded by what they consider an improper raid on a trust fund that depends on state lottery proceeds.

The wastewater infrastructure and other projects are part of a $1.5 billion public works borrowing bill, but the money to pay for them would come out of the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The groups say the trust fund was never meant to be used for big capital projects, which are normally funded with bonds that get repaid from the state’s general fund.

Trust fund projects are normally vetted by a semi-independent commission, but that didn’t happen with the disputed projects. They were added in the closing hours of the session.