Minnesotans care about water. State voters showed this passion by overwhelmingly passing the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment in 2008.
The Clean Water Council works specifically to protect our lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater and makes recommendations on how to spend a portion of the revenue generated by the Legacy Amendment
The Council follows a number of guiding principles, including, “improving and protecting water quality and preserving water quantity… without substituting for traditional sources of funding. Traditional sources of funding include bonding, dedicated funds and general fund support for the state agencies who manage our water resources.
At Conservation Minnesota we monitor the recommendations of the Clean Water Council and compare those with the traditional sources of funding. As the Clean Water Fund grows, we want to be sure it is not used to replace traditional sources of funding. This would go against the intent of the Legacy Amendment.
Recently, Conservation Minnesota presented information from our latest state Budget Analysis to the Clean Water Council. We are concerned about the ongoing impact of the legislature’s failure to pass a bonding package in 2016. Because of this failure, there is risk that the Clean Water Fund will be used – instead of bonding dollars – for important clean water programs like the Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve program. Voters intended for Clean Water Funds to make it possible to do more to protect our water, not less.
We will continue our work with members, legislators and allies to make protecting the Legacy Amendment, and Minnesota’s waters, a priority in the 2017 legislative session. You can help by encouraging your elected officials to respect the voters of Minnesota by passing a bonding package in 2017 with appropriate clean water funding.