As May came to a close and most Minnesotans started thinking about summer, elected officials at the state capitol wrapped up this year’s Legislative Session. Unfortunately, they did not finish all of the work we’d have liked, and at this time it is still unclear if a special session will happen.
Still, we have important developments to report related to protecting our lakes, rivers, and drinking water.
The proposed bonding bills, heard in both the House and the Senate, included proposals for drinking water, wastewater infrastructure, and other clean water projects supported by Conservation Minnesota. We also worked on a number of items related to clean water that did move forward in the Legislature:
- The Working Lands program will continue to develop innovative and beneficial ways to get more perennial plants on the agricultural landscape to filter surface runoff and to help clean up Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.
- The Forever Green research program at the University of Minnesota will accelerate the development of economically viable cover crops that enhance water quality, soil health, and habitat while providing an economic return for producers.
- The new buffer law was cemented into statute with additional clarifications on which water bodies need buffers and what alternative water quality practices are allowed as a substitute to vegetative buffers.
- Conservation Minnesota’s Clean Water by 2050 bill was introduced this session as an important step in developing tangible statewide goals and deadlines of achieving clean drinking water by 2025 and clean lakes and rivers by 2050. The bill will be further developed in the 2017 legislative session.
Over the last two years, Conservation Minnesota members, like you, have helped move these pieces of legislation and others forward by sending more than 39,820 postcards, emails, and phone calls to legislators and Governor Dayton. Thank you to those of you who participated. By working together we will continue to protect the Minnesota we all love!