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“It seems we precipitated this — by winning,” said Lakeland Mayor Bob Livingston, referring to the Hubbard case. People in Lakeland care deeply about the river, he said. “This is an attempt by the DNR to impose a new level of government control in a place which wouldn’t really benefit from local control.”
Brian Zeller, Lakeland’s mayor in 2010, said the bill fails to balance the needs of development and recreation by putting “all of the decisions about the river into the hands of one state employee.”
Craig Johnson, lobbyist for the league, said his group favors local control and fears the bill represents a first step toward asserting authority over other major bodies of water, such as Lake Superior and the Mississippi River.
“We think the tools are already there for the DNR,” he said.
Sieben, however, said those fears are unfounded.
“The bill is certainly tailored just to apply to the lower St. Croix,” she said.
Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @StribJAnderson