Insider: March 17, 2017

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photo credit: Minnesota environmental Quality Board

Legislators Target Environmental Quality Board

The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board is an important avenue for citizens and agencies to conduct fair and complete environmental reviews of projects in the state. The EQB’s ability to coordinate with multiple agencies makes it a critical protector of our air, land, and water. Polling has shown that Minnesotans value the EQB and other important regulating authorities: 62% believe that environmental protections should be toughened or better enforced, not weakened.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and several legislators rightly see citizen involvement in the review process as a check on pollution, so they have introduced HF 1291/SF 1087 to eliminate the EQB entirely. This bill goes against both citizen priorities and the views of agency experts like Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, who recently said “I don’t believe that the Environmental Quality Board is broken at all.”

The Environmental Quality Board should continue to protect the interest that Minnesotans have in protecting our air, water, and land resources. Click here to view a letter to legislators from our member organizations expressing our firm support for the EQB.


Show your support for the Buffer Law

TAKE ACTION! The new buffer regulation has enormous positive implications for water quality in Minnesota, but this contentious battle is not over yet. Governor Dayton’s clean water efforts need your support. Contact your representatives to tell them to move forward, not backward, on protecting our lakes and rivers.



Register for the 2017 Minnesota Water Action Day 

Join us on Wednesday, April 19th for the 2017 Minnesota Water Action Day! This is a day of public action and advocacy to let lawmakers know we care about our water. This all-day event will include a rally, issue trainings and meetings with your legislators. Come for all or part of the day. There will be trainings in the morning, both on how to actively engage legislators and on the water issues that we face in Minnesota. Throughout the day there will be events and other ways to keep people engaged, and the rally will be held in the Capitol Rotunda at 1:30pm. Register today

Great Lakes Day Brings Advocates to Washington

The annual Great Lakes Day policy event, hosted by the Great Lakes Commission and the Northeast-Midwest Institute, took place in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, March 17. Great Lakes Day is an opportunity for experts and advocates to discuss the protection of this critical region with Congress. The President’s proposed gutting of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative makes these efforts more important than ever. MEP’s Steve Morse and Irene Folstrum represented us in meetings with legislators and fellow advocates.

Photo credit: DNR

Lawmakers Seek to Weaken Buffer Law

Despite the success that Minnesota farmers have thus far made in complying with Governor Dayton’s riparian buffers law, legislators are attempting to weaken and slow implementation of the law’s standards. These standards are critical for ensuring that Minnesota waters will be protected from pesticide runoff and other hazardous pollutants. The Governor has pledged to reject any effort to step backward on this initiative, but lawmakers need to hear public support for buffers for more progress to be made. Advancing a sound and stable buffer policy will help protect the water we use for drinking and recreation, and benefit rural and urban Minnesotans alike.

Trump Budget Cuts Funds for EPA by 31 Percent

(From Scientific American) — President Trump’s budget released this morning aims directly at programs addressing climate change by eliminating funds for the Clean Power Plan and “reorienting” U.S. EPA on air pollution.The blueprint calls for a 31 percent spending reduction for EPA, slashing its budget by $2.6 billion. Environmental advocates described it as a crippling blow to an agency at the vanguard of climate action.The budget also seeks a 5.6 percent cut to the Energy Department and a 12 percent decrease for the Interior Department (Energywire, March 16). >>Read More.


Xcel Unveils New Phase of Wind Power Construction, with Huge Plant in South Dakota

(From Star Tribune) — Xcel Energy Inc. will build its largest Upper Midwest wind project ever in eastern South Dakota, the latest phase of a huge new wind power investment in Minnesota and the Dakotas.The Minneapolis-based utility unveiled details of the wind plan Thursday, which include three new projects, one each in Minnesota, South Dakota and western North Dakota. The company’s planned Crowned Ridge Wind project in Codington County and two adjacent South Dakota counties would have a power production capacity of 600 megawatts, the same amount as Xcel’s planned Rush Creek development in Colorado. >>Read More.


Trump’s Budget Would Torpedo Obama’s Investments in Climate Change and Clean Energy

(From Washington Post) — From the elimination of major programs to the shifting of scientific priorities, the Trump administration budget proposal unveiled Thursday presents a wholesale repudiation of two main Obama administration objectives: fighting climate change and stoking a revolution in renewable energy. At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, $250 million in coastal and ocean grants and programs — many of which help ready communities for rising seas and a warmer, more acidic ocean — would be cut. Satellite programs would be trimmed. The proposed cuts, previously reported on by The Washington Post, have shaken the country’s climate science community and triggered an outcry. >>Read More.



Duluth Hearing Draws Supporters, Critics of Proposed Mining Ban Near BWCAW

(From Duluth News-Tribune) — The federal agencies responsible for a proposed mining ban near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness got an earful Thursday from supporters and opponents gathered at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management heard more than two hours of public input on the plan to stop Twin Metals and other companies from exploring or mining on 235,000 acres just outside the federal wilderness.Twin Metals wants to dig a massive underground mine along the Kawishiwi River just southeast of Ely that would employ about 800 people. >>Read More.

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Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Big River Farms Food Hub Intern | Minnesota Food Association/Big River Farms

Association Director of Development II | The Nature Conservancy

Wilderness Curriculum Internship | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Membership Internship | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Water Resources & Outreach Internships | Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District

Natural Resources Assistant | City of Burnsville

Live-in Caretaker | Minnesota Food Association

Communications Associate | Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness 

Manager of Development & Member Engagement | Transit for Livable Communities / St. Paul Smart Trips Senior

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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.


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