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Legislative Updates

Governor announces changes to draft Groundwater Protection Rule

Tuesday, March 6, Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Fredrickson announced revisions to the states proposed groundwater protection rules.

While the final rule language won’t be released for public comment until May, the announcement outlined some major changes to the state’s preliminary draft, with improvements in some areas and major risks to public health and saftey in others. >>

March 6

Budget forecast shows $329M state surplus

The forecast shows a projected budget surplus of $329 million for the 2018-19 biennium, up $353 million compared to the state’s November estimate.

Looks like it's time for the Legislature to fulfill their 2017 promise to pay back the Clean Water Fund! >>

February 28

Multiple bills undermine state drinking water protection authority

We can all agree that clean, safe drinking water should be accessible and affordable for everyone regardless of geography or income. Unfortunately, no fewer than five bills have already been introduced this session that undercut state authority to protect public and private wells from contamination through the 1989 Groundwater Protection Act. >>

February 27

What we want this legislative session

Budget uncertainty, election-year politics and a sometimes-heated debate on environment and conservation issues should make for a fascinating legislative session.

Here are our priorities for the 2018 session, kicking off Tuesday, February 20. We'll be advocating for investments in essential water infrastructure and in programs that will reduce agricultural and salt pollution, and working to stop rollbacks of existing environmental protections. >>

February 20

There is a saying in governance: “Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”

We know Minnesotans value clean water. This year, there are three priority clean water investments that the state must make to reflect those values: Bonding, CREP and the Clean Water Fund payback.

Road salt from street maintenance truck

We use salt to manage snow and ice in Minnesota, but too much can irreparably harm our lakes, streams and rivers. It's time for Minnesota to go on a low-salt diet. (Photo Minnesota Pollution Control Agency)

Chloride or salt is commonly used as a deicer in Minnesota. Unfortunately, it's also been in the headlines this winter as salt levels in our lakes and rivers have increased posing risks to aquatic life and our drinking water.

Alfalfa is an example of an alternative, perennial cropping system that protects water quality and soil health and enhances habitat while providing an economic return to farmers. Boosting markets for such crops is a win-win for our environment and farm prosperity.

Currently, many farm fields lay bare and brown for much of the year, leading to erosion and runoff. This is a leading cause of pollution for the metro Mississippi. To restore the river's water quality and aquatic life, we need more living cover on our agricultural landscapes. 

Last year’s session saw both houses of the legislature pass one of the most far-reaching environmental bills in recent memory, rolling back environmental policy and funding nearly across the board. Fortunately, Gov. Mark Dayton swiftly vetoed the original Environment Bill.

Unfortunately, many of the rollbacks to basic environmental protections in last year’s original vetoed bill are likely to re-appear in legislation this session.