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Water Action Day is Wednesday in Minnesota

Lawmakers are hearing this week from residents who say they want clean water. (cleanwateraction.org)
Lawmakers are hearing this week from residents who say they want clean water. (cleanwateraction.org)
April 18, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Wednesday is Water Action Day in Minnesota, and a rally is being held at the state Capitol. It includes workshops to help residents learn how to work with their lawmakers to protect natural resources and to learn more about current legislation that's threatening clean water in the state.

Steve Morse is the executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership. He says water-quality standards in Minnesota are being rolled back and there's been a loss of habitat. He calls it open season on the great outdoors.

"We see these themes of raiding the budget, rolling back protections and bypassing both the science and the public in this process," he said. "Very troubling, and we know it's out of step with what Minnesotans want to see."

Water Action Day is an all-day event, with a water ceremony at 12:45 P.M. in Leif Erickson Park. Speakers at the rally that follows include Gov. Mark Dayton, former Vice President Walter Mondale, explorer Ann Bancroft and others.

Morse says there are several bills moving through the Legislature this session that are detrimental to the environment and to clean drinking water. Legislation that would reduce citizen review of large feedlots in Minnesota has passed both the House and Senate.

"Neighbors aren't going to know when maybe 1,900 animals are being put right next to their farms, and it takes out public process and also means that we're not going to be evaluating those proposals for what their impact will be on the environment," he explained.

Morse says bills that hurt pollinators, limit local control, suspend water-quality standards, block restrictions on lead ammunition, raid constitutionally dedicated Legacy funds, and limit the ability to acquire public land for hunting and fishing are also gaining ground this session.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN