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Green Land — Clean Water
Clean, safe water is important to Minnesota’s families, communities and economy. Unfortunately, the state has fallen behind on addressing critical issues that impact our state’s water resources.
In 2014, the members of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership are advancing three priorities critical to the future of our clean water:
- Investing in innovative, high performance crop development through the University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative;
- Re-establishing the Legislative Water Commission; and
- Phasing out the use of triclosan, an antibacterial agent that contaminates Minnesota’s surface waters.
Minnesota’s agricultural landscape is dominated by bare and sparsely protected fields during the bulk of each year. This causes the land to lose water and soil, absorb additional pollution and miss out on productive crop opportunities. Agricultural runoff remains the largest source of pollution to Minnesota’s surface waters.3 Our state’s countryside has lost its crop diversity and is now heavily dominated by corn and soybeans, which are prone to excessive nutrient loss and runoff while providing little or no shelter for wildlife. Minnesota must recommit itself to developing the next generation of viable high-efficiency crops that maintain continuous living cover on the land while protecting soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat.
Triclosan, a chemical additive in some personal care products, breaks down to form dangerous dioxins in our surface waters. These dioxins have increased by 200-300% since triclosan appeared on store shelves.4 Despite the Minnesota Department of Health’s recommendations against using products that contain triclosan5, triclosan-based personal care products are still sold statewide.
With water quality and quantity issues becoming ever more common and complex, the time is right to re-establish a legislative venue for vetting water-related issues, bills and administrative actions with a bi-partisan group of informed legislators that is able to focus on surface and groundwater issues, funds, programs and governance.
- Advance the Forever Green Initiative: Provide long-term funding for research at the University of Minnesota to accelerate development of economically viable perennial and cover crop options that enhance farm prosperity, water quality and habitat.
- Phase out triclosan: Phase out the sale of select triclosan-based personal care and household consumer products by July 2015.
- Re-establish the Legislative Water Commission: Create a bi-partisan legislative forum to oversee and coordinate the many organizations and efforts underway to protect and restore our water.