An umbrella group of more than two dozen environmental organizations, including Audubon Minnesota and Conservation Minnesota, has sent a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton objecting to more than a dozen provisions of the recently passed environment budget bill and urging him to veto it. A key DFL legislator is also urging a veto.
The bill passed as part of the compromise budget agreement reached between the Republican-controlled House and DFL-led Senate and passed by the Legislature in its final hours before adjourning Monday.
The environment budget bill also contained significant policy provisions that the umbrella group, Minnesota Environemental Partnership, says will threaten protection of water, earth and air.
The group objects to the bill eliminating the Pollution Control Agency's Citizens' Review Board, which is an appointed board of citizens who are empowered to make the final call on controversial environmental permitting decisions; taking money from special cleanup funds for agency operations; exempting sulfide mining waste from solid waste rules; and, generally giving less leeway to regulators, forcing them, for instance, to comply with new requirements to conduct cost analyses and outside peer review.
The bill was crafted by a coalition of Republicans and a key Iron Range Democrat, Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, who believe overzealous regulators are interfering with economic growth.
Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-St. Paul, the lead Democrat on the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, is also urging Dayton to veto the bill.
Dayton and his staff have said they are reviewing all the bills and have not made any determinations about vetoes other than the education budget bill, which Dayton will veto. He has three days to decide after receiving the bills.