Capitol Update: Here we go again with the rollbacks

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Here We Go Again… More Rollbacks for Environmental Protections

It’s disheartening when our legislative leaders are so out of step with Minnesotans. Statewide polling done earlier this year by a professional bipartisan polling team found that the majority of Minnesotans want strong environmental protections. Only 12% think Minnesota’s environmental laws are too tough and should be loosened up. Conversely, 67% think environmental laws need to be made tougher, or should be better enforced. The remaining 19% of voters think environmental laws and enforcement are at the right levels.*

Clearly, legislative leaders who want to roll back protections for our outdoors are not in line with the majority of Minnesota voters. Unfortunately, we’re heading into our fifth week at the State Capitol, and bills like S.F. 1567 /H.F. 2095 that roll back protections for our air and water have passed out of multiple Senate and House committees.

This week, S.F. 1567 will be heard in the Finance committee on Feb. 28 and then be sent to the floor.  H.F. 2095 is awaiting a hearing in the Ways and Means committee before it heads to the floor.  Community leaders testified in opposition, including Steve Morse, the executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership. (Check out this video interview he did related to that testimony.) But bill authors Sen. Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) and Rep. Fabian (R-Roseau) received help from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce to push the bills through.

These bills weaken the permitting process to that protects us from pollution in our air – the particulate matter that contributes to asthma, mercury that contaminates our fish, and harmful chemicals that are being dumped into our rivers, lakes, and streams

I’m sorry to be such a “Debbie Downer,” but the Legislature seems to be bowing to corporate special interests by granting them special exemptions from laws that protect our water, air and health.  Instead of maintaining the laws that protect our water and our health, the Reform 2.0 Agenda is set to weaken these protections! Minnesotans want to move forward with efforts to protect our water, invest in clean energy and protect our health – remember: 2 out of 3 say they want stronger laws and better enforcement.

Restore Minnesota 3.0!

We are starting our own initiative to combat Repeal, Rollbacks…er, I mean “Reform 2.0.”  How about “Restore Minnesota 3.0!?”  Defenders of clean water! Stewards of Minnesota’s Great Outdoors! Creators of clean energy jobs and strong local economies! We need to go beyond 2.0 and make Minnesota greater with economies that are based on decisions and policies that make us stronger in the long-run by protecting our health, our water, our air, and our future!

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* From a statewide telephone poll of 500 registered Minnesota voters, conducted Jan. 9-11, 2012, for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership by the bipartisan research team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Public Opinion Strategies. The margin of sampling error for the full statewide samples is 4.4 percentage points, plus or minus; margins of error for subgroups within the sample will be larger.

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