Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, said he was blindsided and baffled by Gov. Mark Dayton's announcement today that he'll create a new citizens' committee to advise the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Dayton's move comes just weeks after the he signed an environment bill ending the PCA Citizens' Board, which had authority to grant or block environmental permits before it was eliminated with the June legislation. Although he signed the bill, Dayton expressed misgivings at the time and said he would work to restore it.
McNamara, who chairs the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee, was instrumental in the push to end the Citizens Board,
“House Republicans are really proud of the bipartisan work we did with the bill and the governor signed a couple months ago that speeded up the permitting process and removed the Citizens Board absolute permitting authority, so we’re kind of surprised by today’s development.”
McNamara said when the Citizens Board was eliminated it saved the state $400,000 and said it’s unlikely the Legislature would provide money for the new board.
McNamara speculated that Dayton may be trying to mollify environmental groups, some of whom felt burned at the end of the legislative session.
Unlike the previous board, the new committee would serve in an advisory capacity only, but Dayton nonetheless said in a statement that "Minnesota citizens need and deserve a seat at the table."