Hundreds from across Minnesota rally at Capitol to “Protect our Water!”
Governor Dayton, Winona LaDuke, Ann Bancroft among speakers rallying for Minnesota’s water
St. Paul, Minnesota – On April 19, a coalition of over 40 organizations hosted over 800 registered participants from across Minnesota at Water Action Day, a day of action and advocacy to protect Minnesota’s clean water. Water Action Day included workshops on clean water issues, meetings with lawmakers, and a Capitol Rotunda rally that featured Gov. Mark Dayton, Winona LaDuke, and polar explorer Ann Bancroft.
Many citizens came to the Capitol because of concerns about budget bills that contain significant budget cuts and policy changes that threaten water quality in Minnesota. Speakers at the rally and morning workshops delved into proposals that would suspend water quality standards, cut recommended drinking water protections from the Clean Water Fund, skip route review of the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline, and limit environmental review of large animal feedlots in Minnesota. Throughout the day, participants in Water Action Day met with their legislators to ask them to fully fund environmental protection, stop environmental rollbacks, safeguard the Clean Water Fund, and respect sound science and public participation.
Speakers at a Capitol Rotunda rally called for lawmakers and people across Minnesota to get engaged and protect our water. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has declared 2017 to be the “Year of Water” in Minnesota. Governor Dayton today announced a series of Water Quality Town Hall meetings that will be held across the state beginning in August, following up on Governor Dayton’s “25 by 25” Water Quality goal proposal, announced earlier this year. “All Minnesotans have a stake in water that’s safe for drinking, swimming, and fishing,” said Governor Dayton. “These town hall meetings will further the important conversations already happening across Minnesota around water quality. Together we can develop strategies and solutions that work for all of our communities.”
Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth called attention to the impact of water pollution on native peoples in Minnesota. “We will be dancing for our water and to protect and heal our people,” stated LaDuke. “Our sacred jingle dress dance is used as a healing dance. We see that almost half of the water in Minnesota is contaminated with agricultural poisons. Other waters are poisoned from the mining industry; now we face more mines. And we face these pipelines. We pray for our water.”
“We live in a dynamic and changing environment, so protecting our waterways is a huge challenge,” said polar explorer Ann Bancroft. “It will take all of us engaged in their protection and management to ensure healthy water systems for future generations. Thoughtful planning with state and local governments as well as citizens will ensure our path forward to healthier waterways for all.”
Farmer Julie Arnold called attention to solutions for agricultural water pollution. “Strong rural communities require clean water,” she said. “We need a public investment in creating more opportunities for farmers to use cover crops and perennial crops that are profitable to grow, build soil health, and clean our water. This time of year when 75% of our farmland is bare and exposed reminds us why we need farming systems that create continuous living cover. Our land grant University has a vital role to play in making this happen through their Forever Green research initiative which is developing new perennial crops like Kernza.”
“In our water-rich state we need to hold the line on further deterioration of Minnesota’s precious groundwater and surface waters,” said farmer Audrey Arner. “Rural Minnesotans will be devoting their whole day to get this message to our legislators. Farmers, rural citizens and urbanites are joining together to bear this responsibility. Politics aside, the water belongs to everyone because water, as we have come to understand, is life.”
Water Action Day was organized by members of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, and these organizations from across Minnesota participated in the event:
1 Mississippi, Anglers for Habitat, Audubon Minnesota, Clean Water Action, Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River, CURE, Duluth for Clean Water, Fish and Wildlife Legislative Alliance, Friends of Pool 2, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Friends of the Mississippi River, Honor the Earth, Izaak Walton League, Land Stewardship Project, League of Women Voters, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, MN350, MN Interfaith Power and Light, MN River Congress, New Ulm Area Sports Fishermen, Save Our Sky Blue Waters, Save the Boundary Waters, Sierra Club North Star Chapter, St. Croix River Association, Sunnyside Marina (St. Croix River), WaterLegacy, Alliance for Sustainability, Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop, Conservation Minnesota, Cool Planet MN, Duluth for Clean Water, Environment Minnesota, Fly Fishing Women of Minnesota, Friends of the Headwaters, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Minnesota Trout Unlimited, MN Conservation Federation, Native Lives Matter, Powershift Network, and Voyageurs National Park Association.
Water Action Day on Social: #ProtectOurWater, #KeepMNClean
About Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a coalition of more than 70 environmental, conservation, and civic organizations working together for clean water, clean energy and protection of our Great Outdoors. The Minnesota Environmental Partnership engages state leaders, unites environmental efforts and helps citizens take action for the Minnesota they love.