Insider: June 3, 2018

Posted by .

Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

Legislative session misses opportunities, but gives Minnesota a chance to move forward

With Governor Mark Dayton’s final vetoes and bill signatures this week, the 2018 Minnesota legislative session ended with successes, losses, and missed opportunities for Minnesota’s environment. Thanks to the Governor’s veto, bad legislation like the Line 3 giveaway bill and the wild rice standard roll back, didn’t become law – critical victories for Minnesota’s land, air and water. And the bill blocking the Groundwater Protection Rule didn’t reach the Governor’s desk. We thank all Minnesotans who spoke up to make sure this and other bad legislation would not threaten our natural resources.

Unfortunately, critical projects to boost our health and our great outdoors – like Forever Green and the Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program – were left underfunded this year. Worse still, the Legislature passed a raid in the bonding bill on the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The ENRTF uses state lottery proceeds to fund innovative research and projects aimed at solving Minnesota’s pressing environmental challenges. The bonding bill signed into law would spend this money on basic services – like infrastructure and waste projects – that should be paid for with general bonding. This raid poses a long-term threat to the ENRTF and all constitutionally-dedicated funds.

For a full session summary, see MEP’s 2018 legislative wrap-up.

Looking to Minnesota’s future

Fortunately, the end of the session left the MDA’s Groundwater Protection Rule process intact, keeping it on track to be finalized this year, with opportunity for citizen input online or at hearings during the summer. MEP will continue to engage with the Department of Agriculture and local leaders to work toward a long-term solution to nitrate pollution in our drinking water.

This month, the Public Utilities Commission is concluding its review of Line 3 at several hearings and deciding whether to grant Enbridge’s pipeline a certificate of need. We call on Minnesotans to speak up at those hearings, and we ask the PUC to recognize that Minnesota does not need this pipeline.

And with the Governor’s office and the future of the Legislature hanging in the balance in the 2018 election, we’ll be working to educate the candidates and prepare our Coalition to bring a positive environmental vision in 2019.

We thank all those who contacted their representatives, joined us at our events, and followed the session with us in 2018. And we urge Minnesotans to keep speaking up on the environmental issues that affect us all!

Office space available in MEP’s building!

Is your organization in the market for a convenient, comfortable office space in St. Paul? The office suite above MEP’s office at 546 Rice Street is available for lease! The approximately 2200 square ft. space is ideal for a small to midsize nonprofit organization, featuring a kitchen and break area and offstreet parking.

Located in the Capitol-Rice Street neighborhood, it is also within three blocks of the Capitol complex and across the street from the Women’s Building. It is also positioned along bus routes 3, 62, and 67, and a two-minute walk from the Green Line. And perhaps best of all, the new tenant would have good neighbors in MEP’s staff!

The landlord may be open to letting portions or the entirety of the office space to individual organizations. Contact us for details!

Please contact Matt Doll at if interested.

Dayton vetoes wild rice bill, earning thanks from environmentalists

(From MPR News) — Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday vetoed a legislative attempt to put the brakes on regulations that could force the mining industry and municipal wastewater systems to invest in expensive treatment systems. Minnesota’s 45-year-old sulfate standard aimed at protecting wild rice has rarely been enforced. The Republican-led Legislature, with help from some DFLers, pushed through legislation that would have provided $500,000 for a work group to explore affordable solutions on how to protect wild rice from mining and wastewater discharge high in sulfate. But Dayton objected to provisions that would have prevented the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency from taking action on the standard. >>Read More.

The lake or the lawn? Watering ban hangs over heads of White Bear Lake neighbors

(From Pioneer Press) — First a judge put the brakes on the additional pumping of water within five miles of White Bear Lake. Then the Minnesota Legislature put the brakes on that ruling. Now the cities and many of their residents near the lake are left wondering where we move forward from here. “Water is so valuable,” Jean Auger said recently as she dug up weeds in her garden as White Bear Lake sparkled in the sun nearby. Will a watering ban protect the lake next to her yard? Will it mean she is forced to change her gardening habits? >>Read More.

Pilot Program aims to reuse, recycle materials from condemned buildings

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Society as a whole has taken a much dimmer view of highway littering in the past 50 years, said Alex Baldwin, a project manager for Better Futures Minnesota. “We’d like to think sort of the same thing is going to happen, in terms of how people think about throwing away a house,” he said. Better Futures Minnesota is one of St. Louis County’s partners in a project now underway in Duluth’s Morley Heights neighborhood. At a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Baldwin said: “What you see behind me is basically deconstruction versus demolition. So you see eight to 10 guys carefully dismantling and systematically reclaiming building materials.” >>Read More.

Wind energy: new revenue, new jobs, new hope

(From MinnPost) — It’s easy to list the reasons that rural communities love wind — they provide a new source of tax revenue for counties and townships, lease payments for rural landowners, new jobs and economic development in areas that need it most, and they help to fund community projects and schools. Now, a new report from Moody’s Investors Service highlights how wind projects are boosting tax revenues and helping erase debt in rural communities that host them.  A utility-scale wind farm is a multimillion-dollar project that provides a significant new source of tax revenue for the counties and townships through the Wind Energy Production Tax. Since 99 percent of wind projects are built in rural America, wind farms provide relief for small, rural towns that need it most. >>Read More.

St. Paul asks building owners to cut energy use this summer

(From Star Tribune) — St. Paul leaders are asking building owners to cut back energy use this summer, as part of a goal to reduce climate-changing pollution across the city. A city initiative called Energize St. Paul is kicking off this summer with Race to Reduce, a voluntary program in which the city will work with property owners to track energy use and make buildings more energy-efficient. >>Read More.


Coalition signs letters opposing Twin Metals’ mineral leases

(From Duluth News Tribune) — More than 170 businesses and outdoor groups signed letters opposing the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to reinstate Twin Metals’ expired mineral leases in May and the mining company’s new plans released last week. The three separate letters were each signed by a coalition of conservation, businesses and outdoor sporting groups and sent to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. >>Read More.

Help sustain MEP’s work. Donate today!

Do you appreciate our coverage of environmental and conservation issues? You can help sustain MEP’s work with a donation. Your support will help MEP continue educating decision-makers and Minnesotans throughout the state about important issues that impact clean water, clean air, and land conservation. Contributions also provide the financial backing we need to help organize the advocacy efforts of our 70 member organizations and take action through public organizing, media campaigns, lobbying, and research.

Weekly Environmental Trivia – Answers Below Job Postings!  

1. Is the majority of home water consumption in the U.S. used indoors or outdoors?

2. What Illinois island is the largest on the Mississippi River?

3. What migratory bird has the scientific name Branta canadensis?

Upcoming Environmental Events

Film and Speaker on Ocean Acidification, June 3
Davannis in Woodbury
Hosted by Southeast Metro Climate Action

Launch Party: Unveiling Our New Name & Expanded Vision, June 4
Dual Citizen Brewing Company, St. Paul
Hosted by Transit for Livable Communities & St. Paul Smart Trips

Native Prairie Planting at Cherokee Park, June 9
Cherokee Park, St. Paul
Hosted by Friends of the Mississippi River

Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Itasca Waters Coordinator | Itasca Waters
Organizing Representative – Duluth | Sierra Club North Star Chapter
Part-Time Administrative Associate | Wind on the Wires
Minnesota GreenCorps AmeriCorps Member | Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Data Manager | Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Office Manager | River’s Edge Academy
Warner Nature Center Director | Science Museum of Minnesota
Program Intern – Summer 2018 | Clean Water Action
Chief Financial Officer | Environmental Initiative
See all job postings

Trivia Answers: 1) Outdoors – on pools, lawns, etc. 2) Arsenal Island. 3) Canada goose.


Did you receive the Environmental Insider from a friend? Subscribe here!

Follow Us:


Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Copyright © 2017
546 Rice Street, Suite 100, Saint Paul, MN 55103

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy, and protection of our Great Outdoors.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)