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Trevor Russell

House bill aims to replace the Legacy Amendment

A bill introduced by Republican Rep. Steve Green (Fosston) would require the state to conduct a new referendum to replace the Legacy Amendment with funds for a narrow list of highway and bridge projects and bar Clean Water Fund spending on most clean-up and restoration projects.

February 9

FMR’s 2017 legislative priorities

Water issues will once again be a hot topic during this year's legislative session. While Gov. Mark Dayton has made water a priority, House and Senate majority parties have signaled intentions to roll back policies and funding essential to protecting Minnesota’s rivers, lakes and streams.

Without a doubt, defending against these rollbacks and securing much-needed funding for critical water infrastructure will be our top priorities during the 2017 legislative session. 

January 10

New fuel standards could help river

Perennial grasses for biofuels

Perennial plants can be grown to produce fuel while also protecting water quality and boosting farm profits.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency updated the nation’s renewable fuel requirements. While we were disappointed to see an increase in traditional corn-based ethanol, we’re pleased to see a raise in production goals for cellulosic biofuel in 2017.

This creates a powerful market incentive for farmers to grow perennial crops, supporting FMR’s work towards market-based solutions to reduce agricultural water pollution.

December 16

Minnesota triclosan ban takes effect January 1

Plain soap and water is the best way to wash your hands.

Minnesota was the first state to ban triclosan in hand soaps and body washes. Originally billed as an antibacterial, the chemical broke down into cancer-causing dioxins in the Mississippi River and proved to be ineffective compared to washing with plain soap and water.

In a major victory for water quality and public health, the 2014 legislature made Minnesota the first state in the nation to prohibit the sale of triclosan in consumer hand and body washes. FMR spearheaded the initiative after learning that triclosan from consumer products was turning into dioxins or cancer-causing chemicals in the river. We proudly look forward to the law taking effect January 1, 2017!

December 13

Recommended reading: 'Danger Downstream'

The greatest river in North America begins in Minnesota. But our pristine stretch of the Mississippi faces mounting environmental threats.

As this trio of Star Tribune articles shows, solving Minnesota’s water quality issues begins on the land.

The Star Tribune’s recent series on threats to Minnesota’s rivers – including our own Upper Mississippi – beautifully illustrates many of the challenges and opportunities facing our surface waters. Each article by veteran reporter Josephine Marcotty explores a different aspect of how land use and water interact, with inevitable consequences for surface water, groundwater, habitat and public health. Together, these three articles tell a powerful story of Minnesota’s water resources. They also illustrate and reinforce many of the key lessons of the FMR-National Park Service State of the River Report.

October 20

'State of the River Report' release a hit

State of the River Report 2016 media attention

FMR and our local unit of the National Park Service released the updated State of the River Report to acclaim in late September. Heralded for its approachable and engaging style, the report highlights the status and trends of 14 key indicators of river health. It was warmly received by the media, with quality coverage from local and some national news outlets.

Now, State of the River authors Trevor Russell and Lark Weller are hitting the road to present report findings to stakeholder groups across the state. And to help readers make use of the report, we’ve created three companion guides for residents, teachers and policymakers to take the most important actions to support a healthier Mississippi River. 

October 19

Minnesota's waters need a special session

Following a hectic end to the 2016 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature adjourned with some important work left undone. Legislative efforts to pass a transportation bill and a bonding bill failed, while a surprise $100 million wording error in a tax bill earned that piece of legislation a pocket-veto from Governor Dayton.

While the Governor has expressed support for a special session, the likelihood of such a session remains uncertain. FMR and our allies strongly encourage Governor Dayton and state legislators to reconvene to complete their work, which includes much-needed funding to protect Minnesota's water resources.

June 20

Conjunction dysfunction: A $100 million typo may lead to a special session

After Gov. Mark Dayton's pocket veto of the tax bill, a special session appears more likely this month. The governor chose not to sign the bill as it contained a $100 million wording error (an "or" instead of an "and"), letting the clock run out and preventing it from becoming law. A June special session will be needed to correct and re-pass the essential bill, making it likely the Minnesota Legislature will also tackle important transportation and bonding business left undone, including vital funding for state water quality improvements.

June 7

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