MNNPS Joins MEP in opposition of Environmental Omnibus Bill SF844

The Minnesota Native Plant Society signed a joint letter from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) opposing SF844 (“Environment and Natural Resources Omnibus Bill”).

This bill is opposed by members of the MEP because it contains many detrimental provisions that will defund programs, weaken protections, limit public participation, and subvert municipal efforts to move forward.

  • Cuts $22 million in operational funding to local Soil and Water Conservation districts resulting in a raid on the Clean Water Fund.
  • Limits citizen rights based on property ownership.
  • Jeopardizes rare calcareous fens.
  • Removes the PCA requirement to adopt air quality standards and environmental review standards for frac sand operations.
  • Begins the permit review process before the evaluation of environmental impact data is complete.
  • Allows corporations to prepare their own draft Environmental Impact Statement.
  • Allows permit applicants to buy their way into an expedited permit.
  • Interferes with science-based forest management at Sand Dunes State Forest.
  • Places a 2-year prohibition on the adoption of rules limiting lead shot.
  • Delays actions to clean-up polluted water.

The Minnesota Native Plant Society joins 25 other organizations in urging Governor Dayton to veto this bill and we encourage MNNPS members and other concerned citizens to contact the governor’s office and voice your opposition as well.

MNNPS Joins MEP in opposition of Jobs/Energy Bill SF1456

The Minnesota Native Plant Society signed a joint letter from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) opposing SF1456 (“Jobs Growth and Energy Affordability Bill”).

This bill is opposed by members of the MEP because it fails to either grow jobs or makes energy affordable, but moves Minnesota backward on both points and prevents future progress.

  • Prohibiting local governments from banning plastic bags
  • Eliminates Public Utilities Commission (PUC) safeguards from price gauging by utilities serving rural residents who want to use solar or wind power.
  • Enables Xcel to use $54 million in Renewable Development Fund money to buyout biomass and poultry power supply contracts.
  • Weakens 1.5% Solar Energy Standard for medium sized utilities.
  • Exempts small utilities from participating in energy savings and efficiency programs.
  • Eliminates the popular Roof-top/ Made in Minnesota Solar rebate program.
  • Repeals Minnesota’s goal, framework, and planning strategy for a 100% renewable energy future.

The Minnesota Native Plant Society joins 25 other organizations in urging Governor Dayton to veto this bill and we encourage MNNPS members and other concerned citizens to contact the governor’s office and voice your opposition as well.

LCCMR Bill – HF 1265 (SF 550) – SNA and Prairie Program Slashed!

This Monday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to adopt HF 1265 (the LCCMR bill), with the following amendments:

The A-11 amendment adds back the LCCMR recommendations for a wolf re-colonization assessment project, an acquisition to Minneopa State Park (to allow more acreage for a bison herd), a carp program, and a Metropolitan Regional Park acquisition.  Adopted by unanimous voice vote. (See attachment.)

The A-12 amendment adds language about no-net gain for counties situated in whole or in part north of Highway 2. (See attachment.) There was much discussion by committee members on the no-net gain language. Bob Meier (DNR lobbyist) explained the DNR’s concerns.  Notably, Rep. Urdahl (Republican) spoke against the amendment, citing a need to support the intent of Minnesotans who voted for a constitutional amendment to establish the environment and natural resources trust fund. Rep. Urdahl also read a letter from a constituent, who was angry about the no-net gain proposal. Adopted by a divided voice vote.

LCCMR Vice-Chair Nancy Gibson (a Governor Pawlenty appointee) testified in support of the LCCMR’s recommendations. Ms. Gibson asked to reinstate all deleted projects. (See attachment.)

Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL) was the only committee member to point out that many of the deleted projects pertain to climate change and solar energy.

HF 1265 now goes to the House floor for a vote by the entire body.

I have also attached a 5-page spreadsheet (provided to the Ways and Means Committee).  I have added stars after the deleted projects. (After I scanned this document, note that I missed placing a star after the “Mississippi River Habitat Restoration Planning at Halls Island.”)

Of particular note is the deletion of LCCMR’s recommendation of $4.5 million for the SNA program and $3.5 million for “Native Prairie Stewardship and Prairie Bank Acquisition.”

I encourage everyone to voice their concerns by contacting their own Representative.

The companion bill is Senate File 550, which is currently in the Senate Finance Committee.  The Senate bill retains the LCCMR recommendations of $4.5 million for the SNA program and $3.5 million Native Prairie Stewardship and Prairie Bank Acquisition. I recommend that everyone contact their own Senator and the Senators on the Finance Committee and request that they retain the LCCMR’s recommendations.

In my opinion, the most important contact is Governor Dayton. Very soon, this bill will pass the legislature with many unacceptable provisions.  Therefore, please call and/or write to Governor Dayton and ask him to veto the bill if the LCCMR recommendations are not followed.

Thank you for your interest.  Please contact me any time if you have questions or comments.

Best Wishes,

Tom Casey
tom.casey AT mnnps.org

Attachments: