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Reader's View: Failed bonding bill had projects vital to the region

The Minnesota Senate failed to pass its bonding bill, even though it contained projects critical to the environmental and economic health of our region ("Minnesota GOP defeats Senate bonding bill," May 5).We are hopeful that through local support...

The Minnesota Senate failed to pass its bonding bill, even though it contained projects critical to the environmental and economic health of our region (“Minnesota GOP defeats Senate bonding bill,” May 5).
We are hopeful that through local support and continued diligence the Legislature will still successfully pass a bonding bill that retains funding for critical projects that benefit our region.
Our appreciation goes to our Northland Sens. Tom Bakk, Roger Reinert, Tony Lourey, and Dave Tomassoni. We are proud of these hard-working senators who helped draft a bonding bill that included the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District’s critical Combined Heat and Power Energy Project and other projects benefiting the St. Louis River Basin.
WLSSD’s clean-energy project would reduce regional carbon emissions and use existing renewable energy and infrastructure to generate electricity and heat for WLSSD’s regional treatment plant. It would reduce costs and help WLSSD maintain affordable utility rates for its 140,000 resident customers in 17 communities. The project is crucial to our forest-products employers who depend on affordable wastewater rates to successfully compete in a tough global marketplace. The area’s economic health depends on the 1,400 jobs provided by these manufacturers, countless additional jobs in logging and the hundreds of vendors who do business with them and their employees.
Along with WLSSD’s critical energy project, investments important to the health of the St. Louis River Basin include a sewer pipeline for the Big Lake Sanitary District to protect water quality, a St. Louis River Area of Concern remediation project to clean up pollution and restore habitat at 10 sites, and wastewater infrastructure grants to communities struggling to afford investments in wastewater systems.  
Our senators are working hard work to support these and other projects that would bring countless benefits to our region. These projects depend on a healthy 2016 bonding bill.
Marianne Bohren
Duluth
The writer is executive director of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District.
Karen Anderson
Duluth
The writer is WLSSD’s director of community relations.

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