As Policy Manager for Conservation Minnesota, I monitor current issues that affect the Minnesota you love. Part of that work involves officially commenting on proposed rules or pending decisions with various state agencies. I, along with several other organizations, recently submitted a letter to the Minnesota State Legislature regarding the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Clean Water Fund.
January 24, 2017
Dear Members of the Minnesota State Legislature,
We write to express our support for the implementation of the full recommendations of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) for the Outdoor Heritage Fund of the Legacy Amendment, as well as, the recommendations of the Clean Water Council (CWC) for the Clean Water Fund of the Legacy Amendment.
In 2008, Minnesota voters overwhelming approved the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment. We advocate for the recommendations of the LSOHC and CWC because much thought and consideration was put into the creation of the Councils and the advantages of their processes are clear:
- The Councils are comprised of citizens and legislative members chosen for their expertise in conservation and water resources. The result of the Councils’ composition is legislative engagement and approval, an informed and involved citizenry, and an effective public vetting process.
- The track-record of the Councils proves that the process succeeds in eliciting funding recommendations for high quality, long-range, science-based projects that implement pre-approved state plans.
- The competitive grant application process undertaken by the LSOHC represents a fair, transparent, and thorough process for selecting the highest priority conservation projects for the state.
- The Councils go through a rigorous process each year to reach their final recommendations. It begins by prioritizing projects based upon several criteria, including, the urgency of the problem being addressed, the reasonableness of the funding level, and the ability of the stated outcomes to provide meaningful outcomes.
We oppose any changes to the Council recommendations because it would undermine the proven historic process of the Councils, which citizens and grantees have come to expect and rely upon.
For the reasons outlined above, we urge you to support the recommendations of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and the Clean Water Council to protect the intent of the Legacy Amendment as it was passed by the voters of Minnesota.
Respectfully submitted by the following organizations:
- AFH, Anglers for Habitat
- Audubon Minnesota
- The Conservation Fund
- Conservation Minnesota
- Ducks Unlimited
- Fish & Wildlife Legislative Alliance
- Freshwater Society
- Friends of the Mississippi River
- The Izaak Walton League
- Minnesota Conservation Federation
- Minnesota Environmental Partnership
- Minnesota Land Trust
- Minnesota MDHA, Deer Hunters Association
- Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance
- Minnesota Waterfowl Association
- The Nature Conservancy
- Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
- Pheasants Forever
- The Trust For Public Land