New analysis on environmental funding

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The Minnesota League of Conservation Voters Education Fund has just released a new report of environmental funding on the state level.  In this update, the League continues their indepth analysis of how our state tax and fee dollars are spent on conservation and environmental issues.

Interested in knowing what the budget priorities are?  How has environmental funding faired over the last three decades?  Does the loon really belong on our state quarter if we are at a low in environmental spending from state tax dollars?  The answers to those first two questions are easily found in the new report – I’ll leave it to you to answer the third.

You can find the report with this link.  You can also find an excerpt on Dave Dempsey’s blog.  Dave is one of the report’s co-authors.

Shoot first, ask for public comment later?

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The U.S. Coast Guard announced in August that it had identified a few locations in the Great Lakes where it wanted to practice shooting things to better protect the homeland.  It already does this on occassion, but since it wanted to make the zones permanently available, it began a process for public comment (each time it uses a zone now, the Guard temporary designates it for the exercise), with the environmental review open as a part of that.  When there was a public and political outcry in late August about the inadequate opportunity people had to comment – due in part to the fact that most people didn’t learn about the notion until a few days before the end of the comment period – the public comment deadline was extended two month.  Most people took this to think that the Coast Guard would hold off from conducting its live fire training.  Apparently those people were wrong…. (more…)

Gas, Grass & Biomass

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As goes ethanol, so goes our landscape? On Sept. 6, the USDA’s chief economist announced that the U.S. would need 90 million acres of corn by 2010 to meet the burgeoning demand for ethanol while maintaining existing markets for exports and animal feed. That’s 10 million more acres than what farmers have been planting in recent years. Where will that extra corn come from? Well, 7 million acres could be raised on land that is currently covered in grass and other perennial plants as part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), said the economist, Keith Collins. Such thinking makes a couple of troubling, and wrong, assumptions. (more…)

Statewide Conservation Plan Comment Opportunity

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The 2006 legislature allocated money for the creation of a “Comprehensive Statewide Conservation and Preservation Plan.”  To facilitate who will get to create this plan, a Request for Proposals (RFP) has been drafted by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).  They are taking public comments on the draft RFP for the next two weeks and they welcome your input.  Details below. (more…)

Great Lakes Town Hall

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MEP’s Northeast Program Coordinator Julie O’Leary is a guest author this week on the Great Lakes Town Hall website (, a space on the web dedicated to facilitating public discussions from people around the Great Lakes.  Julie has begun her week of postings with an interesting look at Minnesota’s relationship to the largest lake in the world.

This link will take you to her first posting.


Keeping Farming’s Natural & Economic Wealth at Home

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It’s harvest time—during the next several weeks hundreds of millions of dollars worth of corn and soybeans will be extracted from Minnesota’s rich soil. Unfortunately, little of that wealth stays in our rural communities. It’s sucked out of these regions by a food and farm economy that exports raw commodities and imports finished products from hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away. (more…)

Conservation Legacy Council

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Governor Pawlenty, by Executive Order, has created a new taskforce charged with providing the Governor with recommendations on “matters relating to the development of a sustainable governance and funding model which will create a lasting legacy for the conservation, protection and enhancement of the state’s natural resources and which will establish Minnesota as the nation’s leading conservation state.”  The application process to be on this council is now open, with details below. (more…)

Governor Pawlenty on environmental funding

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In today’s edition of the Outdoor News, reporter Joe Albert interviews Governor Tim Pawlenty and asks a series of questions regarding our state’s natural resources.  When asked about Minnesota’s 30-year low in funding for the environment, the Governor provided a response that I think needs more exploring.