What we want in 2017: FMR's clean water agenda

Important decisions will be made about Minnesota's water and wildlife habitat at the Capitol this year.

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 are our top priorities for the 2017 legislative session. We want Minnesota to:

Invest in clean water and habitat

Dayton has proposed an ambitious bonding proposal that includes a number of FMR priorities totaling more than $269 million in investments in clean water and habitat across the state. Bonding for clean water is now more important than ever; Minnesota's general fund money for the environment is near an all-time low.

While the state’s bonding bill failed in the final minutes of the 2016 session, FMR is hopeful that the Legislature can complete the bonding bill before the lock runs out in 2017.

Fully fund “Forever Green”

FMR is advocating for full funding for the University of Minnesota's Forever Green Initiative. This initiative has achieved wide acclaim for its innovative research into the development of economically viable cover crops and perennial crops that enhance farm profits while addressing a variety of soil health, habitat and climate change challenges facing our state. Look for additional details on the specific proposal soon.

Prevent rollbacks to environmental policy & funding

FMR is working hard to prevent further rollbacks to existing environmental policies and programs, such as the buffer law, that are critical to protecting and restoring our natural resources. We stand with Minnesotans from all walks of life who believe that clean and healthy rivers, lakes, streams and drinking water supplies must never be compromised for political gain.

FMR and our allies will work hard to prevent rollbacks to existing clean water protections and fight hard to preserve funding for state and local government efforts to protect and restore Minnesota’s natural resources.

Safeguard the Clean Water Fund

In 2008, a strong majority of Minnesotans voted to adopt the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. One-third of the state sales tax revenue derived from the Legacy Amendment is invested in clean water projects through the Clean Water Fund.

Every two years, Minnesota's nonpartisan Clean Water Council works with experts from across the state to craft detailed recommendations to the legislature on how to best invest the Clean Water Fund. Their fiscal-year 2018-2019 recommendations, totaling $220.514 million, reflect the priority of providing resources to on-the-ground actions that improve and protect Minnesota’s water. FMR and our partners will work closely with lawmakers to ensure that these recommendations are reflected in the Legislature's final appropriations.

For updates, see FMR's main legislative page.

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