2017 Legislative Update – March 16, 2017

Advocating to clean up and protect our lakes, rivers, and water resources

March 16, 2017

Governor’s 25% by 2025

In February, at the Environmental Congress, Governor Mark Dayton announced a new initiative to reduce water pollution statewide. The goal is to reduce water pollution 25% across Minnesota by the year 2025. The Governor recognized that without additional action, water quality is only expected to improve 6 to 8 percent by 2034. Governor Dayton’s proposal would not add any new regulations, but would instead drive public engagement and partnerships to address Minnesota’s water quality challenges unique to each part of the state. The initiative has been drafted into bills introduced in both the Minnesota Senate and Minnesota House of Representatives. Senator Carrie Ruud is the lead author in the Senate (SF1417) and Representative Clark Johnson is the lead author in the House (HF1796). Conservation Minnesota testified in support of the bill and we look forward to achieving this ambitious goal so that as the Governor said, “find solutions that will ensure our children and grandchildren inherit clean water to drink, swim, and fish in.”

AIS

Conservation Minnesota has been tracking a number of AIS related bills during Minnesota’s 2017 legislative session. Conservation Minnesota continues to support funding for local communities to address AIS issues in their local lakes and rivers. In addition to local funding, Conservation Minnesota recognizes the need for scientific research to address AIS threats right here in Minnesota’s lakes and rivers – and across other lakes and rivers throughout North America. Minnesota’s nation-leading AIS Research Center needs consistent funding to better plan for long term research, and Conservation Minnesota supports HF2411(Lueck)/SF2031(Ruud) to permanently fund the Center.

Buffer Implementation

There have been a number bills introduced proposing to either modify or in some cases repeal the new buffer law. Conservation Minnesota supports the buffer law, as well as, a fair, efficient and comprehensive implementation of the law. This support includes funding to help local communities implement the buffers and to assist landowners with questions about the law. Conservation Minnesota continues to support the development of effective alternative practices where buffers might not make sense on the ground, but where a well-designed alternative practice achieves the desired outcome – to clean-up and protect our lakes, rivers and streams. Conservation Minnesota will continue to advocate for a strong buffer law rollout without any delays or rollbacks – including with the necessary resources to help local communities implement the law.