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Trevor Russell

How will Minnesota implement the new buffer law?

Buffers of perennial vegetation help protect Minnesota's land, water, and wildlife

One of FMR's top priorities during this year's legislative session was passage of Governor Dayton's much-discussed Buffer Initiative. While a substantially revised (and watered-down) version of Governor Dayton's proposal did become law, implementation of the law will be critical to its success.

October 12

Governor Dayton establishes new MPCA advisory committee

Earlier this month, Governor Mark Dayton signed an executive order creating a Governor's Committee to Advise the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). While the new group, which will consist of eight members plus the MPCA Commissioner, won't have the same authority as the recently abolished MPCA Citizens Board, the committee creates an important a forum for public input on environmental decision-making by the agency.

August 17

The good, the bad and the dirty: The environment and the 2015 special session

Following the chaotic end of the 2015 regular legislative session, the conservation community rallied to build public support for a veto of a highly controversial environmental bill: the Omnibus Environment and Agriculture Bill.

While Governor Dayton is to be commended for his veto of the original bill, a renegotiated bill surfaced during the recent legislative special session and was passed with many of the same dirty water provisions that were in the original bill.

Overall, the Omnibus Environment and Agriculture Bill remains one of the most anti-clean-water measures to come out of the state legislature in recent memory, and includes an especially egregious repeal of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizens' Board.

June 15

FMR and allies urge Governor Dayton to veto Environment Budget Bill

Send Governor Dayton a message asking him to veto the Environment budget Bill.

Following a disappointing and chaotic end to the 2015 legislative session, the conservation community is asking Governor Dayton to veto a highly controversial environmental bill. The bill makes deep cuts to environmental spending (24.3%), contains numerous rollbacks to environmental policies, and includes last-minute language violating a universal agreement on biofuels policy.

While the legislature's compromise on a modest stream buffer proposal was among several positive outcomes this year, funding for both the buffer initiative and UofM Forever Green cover crop research failed to pass before the clock ran out. As a result, a special session is almost certain to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

May 20

Did Minnesota's watersheds just fail their midterms?

Minnesota's recently released report, "Swimmable, fishable, fixable? What we’ve learned so far about Minnesota waters", highlights Minnesota's watersheds at the halfway point of our 10-year monitoring cycle. The results show that about half of Minnesota's waters are unfit for safe swimming and fishing.

May 19

Healthcare antibacterials earn FDA scrutiny

Prompted by a federal lawsuit, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to review the safety and efficacy of antibacterial products (including environmentally risky antibacterial soap) used in the medical industry.

May 19

Myths & facts: The Governor's buffer initiative

During this month's State of the State Address, Governor Dayton expressed his displeasure with buffer opposition, saying he is "...unwilling to wait another year — or longer — for legislation that will significantly improve Minnesota’s water. While the Governor's buffer initiative presents an enormous opportunity to improve water quality and habitat in Minnesota, myths about the bill have proliferated in the halls of the capitol, often spread by opponents of the initiative.
April 28

Legislative update: The session kicks into high gear

The 2015 legislative session moves into high gear this month, as a raft of policy and finance bills move toward the floor in the House and Senate. While buffers, Forever Green research, and a strong biofuels bill are reasons to smile, FMR is also working hard to defeat a series of assaults on clean water protections from the GOP-controlled House.
April 28

Governor unveils buffer proposal

In what is one of the most important water quality initiatives in decades, the Dayton Administration recently unveiled its detailed stream buffer proposal. The bills were introduced earlier this month and represent the first step in securing strong new protections for Minnesota's perennial watercourses.
March 16

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