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House-Passed Water Infrastructure Bill Includes Paulsen Measure on Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam

Washington –The House of Representatives last night approved H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act, bipartisan legislation that authorizes investments into American ports, waterways, locks and dams. The legislation approved a measure introduced by Representatives Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to expedite a study into alternative uses for the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam.

The lock has been closed to prevent the spread of Asian carp up the Mississippi River system. There is wide support in the community for re-purposing the site as a visitor center.

Rep. Paulsen spoke on the House floor in support of the measure prior to Wednesday’s vote. The amendment was adopted into the legislation by a unanimous voice vote. The broader legislation was approved with a 408-2 vote late last night.

“The Upper Lock, which is located in the heart of the Twin Cities and within a National Park is at the only major waterfall on the entire length of the Mississippi River,”said Representative Paulsen. “It presents a unique opportunity to transform the waterfront of the Twin Cities.”

“The public interest here cannot be overstated, and there are several adopted plans for the area as a result – by the City, the Park Board, the Downtown Council, local neighborhoods, and the Heritage Board,” Paulsen continued. “Local government actions reflect a readiness and commitment on the part of local government to engage. The Upper Lock disposition study should therefore move forward expeditiously.”

“This amendment is an exciting milestone in allowing our community to reimagine the site at the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam,”said Representative Ellison. “I look forward to seeing this site become a place for all Minnesotans to engage with the Mississippi River in new ways.”

A video of Rep. Paulsen’s remarks on the House floor is available here. The full text of the Paulsen-Ellison Amendment can be viewed here.