[In an effort to help inform our members about state and federal budget issues, Minnesota Environmental Partnership is working with the Minnesota Budget Project to cross-post updates about the budget.]
Today, Way Five of the 20 Ways in 20 Days Campaign looks at how a cuts-only approach to meeting Minnesota’s needs will jeopardize our lakes, rivers and streams – and threaten further pollution to our great outdoors.
Proposed Cut: The Minnesota House has proposed eliminating general fund support for Clean Water Partnership grants, which provide necessary resources to protect and clean up Minnesota’s water.
Consequence: Beth is involved with a team of concerned citizens, Bridgewater Township officials, college researchers and members of the Cannon River Watershed Partnership nonprofit working to clean up lakes and streams in Southeastern Minnesota. They’ve used Clean Water Partnership grants to make significant progress in detecting that E. coli bacteria and other pollutants are seeping into the Upper Cannon River and Rice Creek, devastating native trout and wildlife populations. “We need to understand what the lakes and streams need to become healthy – and how to protect our water for future generations,” Beth said.
Only 17 percent of Minnesota’s streams and 28 percent of Minnesota’s lakes have been tested for pollution. Of those, 40 percent are polluted, meaning the water is unsafe for swimming and the fish are unsafe for eating. Drastic cuts to the Clean Water Partnership grants will jeopardize the ability of local communities to protect and clean up their waterways.
Solution: Let’s protect Minnesota’s communities, residents and quality of life. We cannot afford to take a cuts-only approach to meeting our state’s needs, jeopardizing the safety of our lakes, rivers and streams. Minnesotans know we need a balanced approach, one that includes raising revenues based on ability to pay, in order to maintain critical state services that support Minnesotans in tough times and invest in our future.
* For more information about cuts to Minnesota’s water and great outdoors, contact Steve Morse with the Minnesota Environmental Partnership at (651) 290-0154.
Learn more about the 20 Ways in 20 Days Campaign.