PRESERVE LONG-TERM INVESTMENTS IN OUR GREAT OUTDOORS
Minnesotans share a tradition of protecting and investing in our Great Outdoors. It is a tradition that we expect our elected leaders in St. Paul to respect and continue. Minnesotans dramatically made this point on Election Day 2008, as the country was falling into recession, by voting overwhelmingly for the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, and raising taxes and dedicating the funds for additional investment in the things we treasure most about Minnesota.
In 2016, we will work to ensure that capital investments for Minnesota’s Great outdoors make up at least the traditional 22% of total state general obligation bonds. This level will keep the faith with Minnesota voters and comply with the Constitutional language of the Legacy Amendment, which states:
“money under this section must supplement traditional sources of funding for these purposes and may not be used as a substitute.”
– Article XI, Section 15 of the Minnesota Constitution
MEP coalition bonding priories include:
- Governor Dayton’s historic water bonding proposal, including;
- $167 million to help communities repair and modernize their aging wastewater and drinking water systems. A portion of these water infrastructure funds will be matched four times by Federal grants.
- $30 million for targeted conservation easements with willing farmland owners to conserve soil, eliminate erosion, and protect habitat and water quality. These state RIM-Reserve funds would leverage up to a $120 million federal match, as part of a five-year 100,000 acre Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).
- $12.7 million to remove polluted riverbed sediment from the St. Louis River estuary. These state funds would leverage $23.6 million in federal dollars.
- Capital investment for key public transportation infrastructure. Including bus facilities and Safe Routes to School statewide, and Twin Cities MetroArea light rail expansion.
DEFENDING MINNESOTA’S ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY FOUNDATION
Minnesotans love to enjoy and are committed to protecting our lakes, rivers, streams, forests, and natural areas – our Great Outdoors. Our natural resources don’t just take care of themselves, as Minnesotans know.
Strong, common sense environmental laws are essential safeguards of our outdoors, and help ensure the purity of our drinking water and sustainability of our groundwater. That’s why more than 85% of Minnesota voters want Minnesota’s environmental laws to be stronger or better enforced.*
Over the years, Minnesota Environmental Partnership and our member organizations have fought for laws that promote clean energy and strengthen protection of our land, water and air. As was the case in 2015, we have also vigorously opposed short-sighted efforts to block, undermine, and undo those laws. Such efforts are out of step with the wishes of the voters of our state. As we work to advance our priority issues this year, we will continue our work of defending existing laws from being weakened or repealed. These include:
Clean Energy – Progressive energy policies that increase our use of renewable energy sources, provide incentives to utilities to promote energy efficiency, and achieve our goal of reducing Minnesota’s carbon pollution 80% by 2050. This includes maintaining the moratorium on the construction of new nuclear reactors.
Minnesota Environmental Policy Act – Minnesota’s environmental review law, which protects our communities and our Great Outdoors from avoidable harm that poorly thought-through projects and decisions can inflict.
Plentiful and Clean Water – Minnesota’s clean water laws and standards, by which we eliminate pollution; restore and protect our lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and groundwater; and avoid the waste and over-use that imperils our quality of life and economic prospects.
Community and Township Rights – The core democratic principle of community and township rights allows local communities to enact planning and zoning ordinances stronger than state regulations. This ensures proposed projects benefit the local area and do not come at the expense of neighbors and their local environment.
*Polling data from a statewide telephone poll of 600 registered Minnesota voters, conducted February 4-6, 2014, for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership by the bipartisan research team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Public Opinion Strategies. The margin of sampling error for the full statewide samples is 4.0 percentage points, plus or minus.