The Minnesota Environmental Partnership, an umbrella organization of environmental and conservation groups, has sent a letter to key legislators, objecting to a number of wide ranging policy shifts embedded in House and Senate bills that could pass during the final days of the legislative session.
The bills would "roll back years of progress in protecting Minnesota's natural resources, particularly the quality of its waters," the letter reads.
The Environmental Partnership says current legislation, attached to environment finance bills in both houses of the Legislature, would politicize regulation by giving lawmakers a bigger say in environmental rulemaking and especially water quality standards and permitting; reduce the role of the Citizens Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; and exempt non-ferrous mining from solid waste rules, among several other provisions.
A coalition of Republicans and Iron Range and rural Democrats has pressed for the legislation, maintaining that current environmental regulation is overly burdensome and hindering economic growth.
Gov. Mark Dayton has voiced opposition to much of the legislation, the status of which is unclear as House and Senate negotiators and Dayton remain at an impasse over a final two-year budget deal.