Statement by Steve Morse, executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Omnibus Environment and Game and Fish Bills’ passage further chips away at Minnesota’s environmental foundation
Legislative Approval of Rules Bill (HF 203)
Governor Dayton’s veto of this bill is good news for Minnesotans. With the Governor’s veto, a very real restriction and defacto moratorium on the executive branch’s authority on some measures to protect our air, water and health, was avoided. We are pleased the Governor vetoed a bill that would have removed the authority of state agencies like the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to protect our environment and the health of Minnesota citizens.
Omnibus Environmental Policy Bill (HF 2164)
We are disappointed that some key parts of this legislation have become law. This bill does more harm than good for Minnesota’s environment. As a statewide coalition of nonprofits advocating for environmental protections and conservation, we are concerned about the long-term impacts of this bill, particularly the damage to Minnesota’s long-standing goal of no net loss of our state’s wetlands. With the signing of this bill, the Land of 10,000 Lakes also abandons its policy against export of our increasingly valuable water to other regions and countries. We are disturbed by the bad legislative processes that created this bill: Legislators added new language to this bill at the 11th hour in conference committee with no public testimony.
Our coalition is disappointed that good policies to enhance management of Aquatic Invasive Species and to maintain the ban on open-air manure lagoons were shoehorned into this omnibus bill with other unneeded provisions. If legislators were serious about protecting our waters from Aquatic Invasive Species, they could have easily passed a separate bill instead of including AIS enforcement in a controversial bill like this.
Game and Fish Bill (HF 2171)
We are pleased that with Governor Dayton’s signature, the long-overdue increases on license fees are instated, ensuring the Department of Natural Resources’ important work will continue. However, we are deeply concerned about the section that orders the DNR to manage the wolf population in a way that does not reflect the best, original judgment of professional game managers at the department.
In both the Omnibus Environment bill and the Game and Fish bill, politicians crammed good provisions into controversial legislation. Logrolling is one of the oldest political maneuvers, but that doesn’t mean Minnesotans want our elected officials to use it.
These compromises continue to chip away at Minnesota’s core environmental policies and are not in line with Minnesotans’ expectations that elected officials do what’s right for our state’s future by protecting our Great Outdoors.