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Legislative Updates

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, 2018

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, 2018

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. Crops like these enhance 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 Minnesota farm fields lie bare and brown for much of the year, leading to erosion and runoff of soil (sediment) and fertilizers. This is a leading source of pollution to our metro Mississippi as well as the Dead Zone downstream.

Buffers help, as do conservation set-asides, but we can't truly protect our river or our drinking water without more plants and roots in our tilled fields. To restore the river's water quality and aquatic life, we need more living green cover on our agricultural landscape. 

Winona La Duke surrounded by Minnesotans who want to protect our water in the capitol rotunda

Water Action Day speaker Winona LaDuke reminded legislators of the importance of protecting our drinking water, lakes, creeks or rivers and not rolling back protections at the 2018 rally. (Join us for Water Action Day 2019!)

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 reappear in legislation this session.

Our Capitol rotunda, full of hundreds of Minnesotans calling on legislators to support clean water.

Minnesotans from across the state gathered in the Capitol rotunda to support clean water during the 2017 Water Action Day.

Budget uncertainty, election-year politics and a sometimes-heated debate on environment and conservation issues should make for a fascinating legislative season. Here are our priorities for the 2018 session, which kicked off Tuesday, February 20.

Evaluating the final Clean Water Fund bill

HF 707 betrays the expectations of Minnesota voters by raiding $22 million in Clean Water Fund money for administrative costs for local governments, while failing to heed the recmmendations of Minnesota's Clean Water Council.

June 28, 2017

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