The Minnesota Legislature's original environment bill was one of the most sweeping anti-environmental bills to advance at the Capitol in many years. Luckily, it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton on May 12. So what made it into the final bill that the governor signed on May 30? Some rollbacks, no water quality progress, but not the worst provisions were removed during final negotiations with the Dayton administration.
FMR is proud to be the voice for the Mississippi River at the Minnesota State Capitol.
For an overview of our goals, see the "Legislative Priorities" panel. As each important river-related bill or program progresses, we'll be sure to post updates below.
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We're pretty sure that when Minnesotans passed the Legacy Amendment, this isn't what they — what we — had in mind. Just signed by Gov. Mark Dayton, the environment bill shifts voter-mandated conservation funds to administrative costs. Thank you to all the River Guardians who tried to prevent this, we look forward to inviting you to happy hour soon to recap the session.
This 2017 Legislature has featured a series of sweeping assaults on our environment, including widespread rollbacks to bedrock environmental finance and policy positions that threaten to undermine water quality and river health throughout the state. Here's where things stand.
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.
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.