Gov. Mark Dayton continued his push for clean water Tuesday at the State Fair by calling on Minnesotans to take a "stewardship pledge" as part of the state's "Year of Water Action."
Dayton asked Minnesotans to use water efficiently; learn about what they can do to protect and preserve water; make informed consumer choices; and, talk to each other about water protection and preservation.
The state's 40th governor has made clean water a legacy-defining issue since seeing a 2015 report from the state Pollution Control Agency that detailed the vast swaths of the state's water resources that are no longer safe for swimming or fishing, especially in farm rich southern Minnesota.
"The future of clean water in Minnesota is dependent on the action we all take now," Dayton said, according to a news release. "That is why I am asking all Minnesotans to join me, in pledging to protect and preserve clean water throughout our state,” he said.
House Republicans responded swiftly, saying Dayton had missed a chance to improve the state's clean water infrastructure by not calling a special legislative session so lawmakers could strike a deal that would borrow millions for public works projects like sewers and treatment plants.
“Why wait a year to address water issues when Governor Dayton could move forward with vital water quality projects across the state that were included in the bonding and tax bills?” said Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau.
Dayton and House Republicans gridlocked on tax and public works bills because they could not agree on money for metro transit, and especially the Southwest Light Rail.