Minnesota’s 2019 legislative session brings many new faces to state government. Even before session began on January 8th, Conservation Minnesota was having discussions with new members and seasoned veterans of state government so that together we can find common ground to build healthy and prosperous communities. Protecting and improving our cherished lakes, rivers and streams was a common theme discussed among all members of Minnesota’s state legislature.
Funding for AIS Prevention
Conservation Minnesota will continue to advocate for dependable funding for research at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. We will also advocate to maintain local funding so that communities can sustain strong AIS outreach and education programs to help protect the long-term health of Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and water resources.
Clean Water 2050
Conservation Minnesota has long seen the need for Minnesota to create a goal to ensure all our waters are safe for drinking and recreation. This Clean Water 2050 legislation requires Minnesota agencies to work with local partners and businesses to ensure that all Minnesotans have access to safe drinking water by 2025, and that all Minnesota lakes, rivers, and streams meet the state and federal standards for swimming and fishing by 2050.
Water Infrastructure Investments
Wastewater and drinking water infrastructure across the entire state of Minnesota is becoming outdated and in need of replacement. By one estimate, over the next 20 years, wastewater and drinking water infrastructure will require $11 billion in investment to ensure Minnesotans have safe drinking water and our lakes, rivers, and streams are protected from pollution. The legislature should use low-interest general obligation bonds to help local communities repair and replace their wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.
- Pass the “Fix” Quickly to Help Communities – Use of the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund (ENRTF) for infrastructure in 2018 exposed the state to higher bonding costs and created uncertainty for communities by inviting a legal challenge to the funding source. The “Fix” would use general obligation bonds to deliver the needed funding to communities while honoring the intent of the ENRTF. This fix is already in motion. We encourage you to connect your legislators regarding this issue.
Reducing chloride pollution in lakes, rivers, and streams
Conservation Minnesota is partnering with a wide coalition of groups to continue work to pass legislation this session that aims to reduce chloride pollution caused by excessive salt application. Over salting parking lots and sidewalks has impaired dozens of our lakes and streams with chloride pollution. Once chloride pollutes a waterbody it is nearly impossible to remove. The Salt Bill calls for voluntary training for individuals and businesses that apply salt as a de-icer, resulting in reduced liability. Right now, businesses and individuals that clear snow and apply de-icers feel compelled to over apply products to prevent slips and falls.
Honest Labeling of Disposable Wipes
Disposable Wipes such as those used for personal hygiene, changing diapers, and housekeeping have created big problems across Minnesota when users flush the wipes down the toilet. Even wipes labeled as “Flushable” often do not decompose, and end up clogging municipal sewer pipes, causing back-ups and overflows while costing local taxpayers millions.
Conservation Minnesota is always looking to support additional legislation that will protect and promote our state’s lakes and rivers. This includes legislation regarding aquatic invasive species, groundwater resources, and other water related issues. Additionally, we’re looking out for legislation that tries to repeal important water quality protections, or might jeopardize the future of our beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams. With your help, Conservation Minnesota looks to protect the Minnesota you love.