Anyone who thinks a clean environment doesn’t have tangible value has fresh homework to do. The textbook is the just-released Sportfishing in America, which turns into very tangible numbers the value of clean water in Minnesota.
Published by the American Sportfishing Association, the survey reports that in 2011 Minnesota:
* Harvested 35,462 jobs from businesses associated with sportfishing.
* Hooked $1.3 billion in sportfishing-related salaries and wages.
* Netted $264.3 million in state and local taxes from sportfishing-related activities.
* Ranked fourth among states in spending by anglers.
* Ranked eighth among states as a sportfishing destination, attracting 259,000 out of state anglers.
If our rivers and lakes were uniformly fouled by pollution, these economic rewards wouldn’t be possible. Our investments in sewage treatment and control of polluted runoff give back to our economy.
How high would these figures go if 40% of Minnesota’s lakes and streamss were not classified as failing to meet water quality standards? All the more reason to continue the cleanup.