Friday, May 12, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a historically bad omnibus environment bill. It sought to give polluters the right to write their own environmental impact statements, slashed funding for environmental agencies and even prevented cities from banning plastic bags. In short, it threatened to undermine Minnesota’s long tradition of protecting the water we drink and the air we breathe.
FMR is proud to be the voice for the Mississippi River at the Minnesota State Capitol. Here's what we're working on currently.
For an overview of our goals for this legislative session and in-depth articles on each, see the "Legislative Priorities" panel. As each important river-related bill or program progresses, we'll post updates below. Please take a moment to bookmark us as your go-to source for legislative news impacting the Mississippi River.
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Dennis Anderson, the longtime outdoors columnist for the Star Tribune: "Misinformation is rife about the state's buffer law, passed two years ago to clean up lakes and rivers, which requires farmers and other landowners to be in compliance with the statute by November."
A commentary in the May 5 Star Tribune co-authored by longtime FMR Board Member Peter Gove highlights major Minnesota companies that tout their environmental credentials while funding Chamber of Commerce legislation to roll back bedrock environmental protections for Minnesota's lands and waters.
This week, the State Government Finance Conference Committee released its conference report which includes 30 pages of redundant, regressive, time-consuming, and expensive hurdles that agencies must go through in order to adopt or even propose rules to protect our environment, natural resources, health, and safety. These provisions were written by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which characterizes them as "streamlining" the agency process. The reality, however, is that this legislation will result in significant delays and administrative expenses.
More than 1,000 Minnesotans joined us at the Capitol to urge legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton to invest in clean water and protect Minnesota's great outdoors. Now we're keeping up the momentum with the River Guardians and Water Action Daily.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner recently penned a thoughtful commentary on the threat of anti-environmental legislation moving forward at the Minnesota Legislature this session.
"When people like [FMR director] Whitney Clark and Steve Morse call out the Minnesota Legislature for a 'full frontal assault' on the state’s traditions of environmental stewardship, for an 'unprecedented' trashing of established and accepted practice, it’s time to take notice," writes Ron Meador in MINNPost. We couldn't agree more.
FMR is proud to be a signatory on a pair of letters to the Minnesota House and Senate asking members to vote ‘no’ on the Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources budget bills.
A pair of bills advanced in the House and Senate this week that re-write appropriations for the State’s Clean Water Fund. These bills:
- Undermine the Clean Water Council’s recommendations;
- Violate the Legislature’s 2015 promise to taxpayers on buffer funding; and
- Reduce or eliminate funding for drinking water, agricultural conservation, water monitoring and other core clean water programs.
A bill poised to pass the Minnesota House with minimal hearings would make it possible for a single legislative committee to block or hamstring state agencies from adopting or even proposing rules to protect Minnesotans' environment, natural resources, health, and safety. Written by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the bill explicitly elevates the interests of corporate polluters and other regulated entities above all other regulatory considerations.