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Trevor Russell

Legislative attempt to rollback buffer law passes first hearing

As anticipated, buffers are back in the news as House Republicans are teaming up with a minority of rural Senate DFLers to rollback the buffer law. A pair of bills, authored by representative Torkelson (R) and Senator Skoe (DFL) have been introduced. Senator Skoe's bill has already passed the Senate agriculture committee despite opposition from Senate DFLers on the committee.  

March 17

Perennial biofuels incentive program bills introduced

The legislature has introduced bills in both chambers to advance one of FMR's 2016 policy priorities: a perennial biofuels incentive program. Dubbed the "Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program," the bills ask for $479,000 in fiscal year 2017 for the state's Board of Water and Soil Resources to prepare a plan for creating a state-funded biofuels incentive program.

March 16

Surprise buffer law rollbacks a major disappointment

Water running off farm fields carries pollution into the nearest waterways.

Without a buffer strip of grass or other perennial vegetation, water runs straight off a farm field, carrying phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment into nearby streams, lakes and rivers.

Bowing to pressure from agribusiness groups and select lawmakers, Gov. Mark Dayton made statewide news with a surprise announcement in late-January: a major portion of the 2015 buffer bill is being rolled back. As a result, hundreds of miles of private ditches will be exempt from buffer requirements and will continue to carry polluted farm runoff into Minnesota's waters. 

February 8

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