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Bill creating new ND department sent to Burgum for signature

BISMARCK—A bill creating a new state department is on its way to Gov. Doug Burgum.

The North Dakota Senate gave its final stamp of approval to Senate Bill 2327, which separates the Environmental Health Section of the state Department of Health into a new Cabinet-level agency, the Department of Environmental Quality.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Jessica Unruh, R-Beulah. The Senate passed it in a 31-16 vote Monday, April 3, after agreeing to changes made by the House.

Supporters have said the change will help the state maintain primacy, or the ability of the state to implement federal environmental regulations.

"Decisions about what's best for North Dakota should be made in North Dakota, not in Washington," Unruh said in a statement.

Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, warned the bill would expand government and increase costs. But Rep. Todd Porter, R-Mandan, said in a statement the bill wouldn't grow government but instead improve efficiency.

Burgum doesn't typically comment on bills before they reach his desk.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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