For Immediate Release: May 16, 2014
2014 Legislative Session: Minnesota’s water will be running clearer, missed opportunities for investments in transit
Saint Paul, MN – May 16, 2014 – The 2014 Minnesota Legislature took several important steps forward to protect and improve Minnesota’s water quality, but the state’s largest environmental coalition said there were also disappointments in transit funding and other issues.
Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), the statewide coalition of more than 70 organizations working for clean water, clean energy and protection of Minnesota’s Great Outdoors, praised the 2014 Minnesota Legislature for banning the chemical triclosan from all consumer soap and body wash products.
“Legislators made the right decision to phase-out the sale of consumer soap products containing the anti-bacterial ingredient triclosan in our state. Triclosan provides no benefits, and has serious health risks,” said Steve Morse, executive director of Minnesota Environmental Partnership. The new law will ban retailers in Minnesota from selling consumer products containing triclosan that are used for sanitizing or hand and body cleansing. “But we also saw several missed opportunities that are going to be felt directly by Minnesotans.”
2014 Legislative Environmental Scorecard
Protecting Our Clean Water Resources:
Phasing-out the triclosan-contamination to Minnesota’s surface waters: The 2014 Legislature passed the Toxic Reduction Act, which includes a ban on selling triclosan-based cleaning products that are used for sanitizing or hand and body wash, effective January 1, 2017.
Re-establishing the Legislative Water Commission: The Legislature voted to reinstate Legislative Water Commission, which will create an ongoing bi-partisan legislative forum to oversee and coordinate the many organizations efforts underway to protect and restore Minnesota’s water resources.
Investing in innovative, sustainable crop development through the University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative: The Legislature included $1 million to advance the Forever Green Initiative to provide long-term funding for University of Minnesota research to accelerate development of economically viable perennial and cover crop options that enhance farm prosperity, water quality, and habitat.
Investing in Clean Energy and Jobs:
Creating low-cost energy efficiency financing tools for businesses: Lawmakers passed, and Governor Dayton signed the supplemental budget bill that included an important provision that will allow the Minnesota Department of Commerce to work with manufacturers, hospitals and other businesses to help fund energy efficiency projects with low-interest financing through its state revenue bond authority. The new law allows $100 million in state revenue bonds for those loans to finance community energy efficiency projects, including industrial, commercial and public projects.
Transparency in actual costs of renewable energy systems: Lawmakers passed the Omnibus Energy Bill, which included a provision requiring projects included under Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard report the actual project cost and allow us to compare the true cost of clean energy vs fossil fuel-based energy.
Addressing Minnesota’s Growing Transportation Deficit:
Passing a comprehensive, balanced, statewide funding for transportation: The 2014 Legislature missed an opportunity to make an investment in Minnesota’s future by addressing the immediate needs for public transit, better connections for bicycling and walking, and fixing our congested, aging roads and deficient bridges.