Insider: May 19, 2017

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The End (of the session) Is Nigh

The Minnesota Legislature concludes its final full week of the regular session this week, with House and Senate leaders seemingly still far away from coming to a budget agreement with Governor Dayton. With Monday’s deadline for bill passage approaching, it’s likely that Governor will end up calling a special session to continue this year’s work. Legislators have argued repeatedly that Governor Dayton refuses to meet them halfway on budget targets, but their refusal to remove environmentally devastating policy provisions from the omnibus bills is in no small part to blame.

Governor Dayton has outlined in his veto letters, the bills that nominally focus on the budget are full of unrelated policy changes that would hamstring regulators, give free reign to polluters, and edge out public participation in environmental review. The Environmental Omnibus bill would gut and delay the buffer law and ban rulemaking that prevents the use of toxic lead shot. The Jobs and Energy Omnibus would hurt Minnesota’s solar industry and let pipeline companies have a free hand in pumping tar sands oil around our state. The Agriculture Omnibus would rob the Department of Agriculture’s ability to enforce restrictions on dangerous pesticides. And multiple bills seek to prevent cities from democratically banning or placing fees on plastic shopping bags.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the majority of Minnesotans don’t want these policies passed. A bipartisan MEP poll conducted in February shows that 74% of us are concerned about environmental rollbacks, and that 62% want regulations to be stronger or better enforced. So leaders in the Legislature are claiming a mandate for their pro-pollution actions that isn’t really there. Minnesotans care about our Great Outdoors, from the Boundary Waters to the rich soil of southern Minnesota. We want our city and state governments to keep our air and water clean in the face of national rollbacks.

The Legislature seems stuck on a path of rolling back good laws that protect our great outdoors on behalf of special interests. It’s time to remind them what Minnesotans stand for. Call House Speaker Kurt Daudt at (651) 296-5364, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka at (651) 296-4875, and tell them to prioritize the public need for clean land and water over polluter’s pet projects.

     Advocacy and Events News                                                         


Join us at Governor Dayton’s Residence for Water Action Daily! 

If you attended Water Action Day on April 19th at the State Capitol you know what a big success it was. Whether you made it or not, we want to offer you a chance to join the push to protect our environment. We need Governor Dayton to insist that legislation he signs this year protects our environment and clean water. You are invited to show your support for the environment by joining like minded people in front of the Governor’s Residence at 1006 Summit Avenue Saint Paul weekdays 430 pm to 630 pm and on Saturdays from 930 to 1130 throughout May. We hope to see you there! Click here to learn more and sign up!

#KeepMNClean Daily Action Website Launched

With the Minnesota Legislature’s session heading toward final negotiations between lawmakers and Governor Dayton, the launch of is timely indeed. Created by public affairs group Apparatus, #KeepMNClean posts brief daily actions that you can take to tell lawmakers to stand up for Minnesota’s Great Outdoors. Visit the website to learn how you can make an impact for our natural resources, and check out KeepMNClean on Twitter and Facebook!

Rewrite legislation to include funding for our environmental regulations

We support the Governor’s decision to veto legislation that will leave the people of Minnesota without the environmental regulations we need to live healthy lives. The speaker and majority leader need to get back to work to rewrite this legislation to include protections for our water and environment. Do you agree? Click here to send your message to legislative leaders!



Nolan meets with Trump Cabinet officers in bid to revive BWCA-area copper mining

(From Star Tribune) — U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, a DFLer, hasn’t let his party affiliation stop him from pushing the Trump administration to reverse a late decision by the Obama administration blocking a proposed northeastern Minnesota copper mine that’s raised concerns about proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.Nolan met recently with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to seek support for renewing mining exploration leases for Twin Metals Minnesota. Nolan called the meeting “very good” in an interview and said the appointee of President Donald Trump “said he would give it the most serious consideration.” >>Read More.



Enbridge pipeline report ignores alternatives (like not building a new one)

(From City Pages) Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline is falling apart.The pipeline, which cuts through northern Minnesota as it delivers tar sands oil from Canada to Wisconsin, was built back in the 1960s with substandard steel. Over the decades, it’s eroded to the point laborers tasked with maintenance describe sealing its cracks as a game of “whack-a-mole.” The largest spill in Enbridge’s history occurred in 1991, when Line 3 leaked 40,000 barrels —  or 1.7 million gallons — of oil into the Prairie River. >>Read More.


‘An incredible tool’; Conservation program opens another chapter in Mower County

(From Austin Daily Herald) — Farmer Roger Peterson’s Udolpho Township farm borders the Cedar River. There is a buffer area between his fields and the river, land that is under the protection of the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP. It was on this land that members of the Mower Soil and Water Conservation District and state leaders announced that farmers could once again start signing up for CREP. “CREP has been an incredible tool across our state,” said Justin Hanson, district manager for the Mower Soil and Water Conservation District. >>Read More.


Column: Minnesota communities join forces to launch water education campaign

(From Stillwater Gazette) — In 2013, Sean Connaughty began collecting litter along the shores of Lake Hiawatha in South Minneapolis, eventually transforming the discarded bottles, pens and rubber duckies into an art exhibit for the Sandbox Gallery. Motivated partly by a desire to clean-up his local lake, and partly by gross fascination, he collected more than 150 bags of litter in three years’ time. On the other side of town, May Lee, a Master Gardener who grew up in Laos, has taken a different approach to protecting water resources in her community. >>Read More.

Pass a Bonding Bill that Helps Clean Water

In these final days of the Minnesota legislative session, we need to press for a strong bonding bill that makes clean water a winner! Please ask your legislators to pass a bonding bill that provides full funding for clean water by:

  • Investing $45 million in CREP – The Conservation Reserve Easement Program;
  • Cleaning-up the St. Louis River Estuary and Duluth harbor and bay with a 65% federal match; 
  • Modernizing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across the state.

Upcoming Environmental Events

Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Recycling Intern | City of Lino Lakes

Community Engagement and Office Coordinator | Cannon River Watershed Partnership

Energy Efficiency Specialist | Minnesota Chamber of Commerce – Waste Wise & Energy Smart Program

Waste Wise & Energy Smart Program Intern | Minnesota Chamber of Commerce – Waste Wise & Energy Smart Program

Program Associate | Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships – University of Minnesota Extension

Communications Coordinator | Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District

Development Officer | Friends of the Mississippi River

Regional Campaign and Sporting Organizer | Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness

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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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