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ST. PAUL – Farmers and rural landowners who were concerned that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was overstepping its bounds in its enforcement of Minnesota's buffer law can rest easier according to State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont).
Following a meeting on January 28 between House leadership and Governor Dayton to discuss buffer concerns, the governor instructed the agency to only map public – not private – ditches.
"It was very clear that the DNR was misinterpreting the law, and Republicans and Democrats alike expressed their dissatisfaction," Gunther said. "The governor needed to step in and I'm glad he did."
Under an agreement reached by the House, Senate, and Governor Dayton last year, buffers of 16.5 feet must be installed on all public ditches by November, 2018.
But several months ago lawmakers learned that the DNR had begun mapping private ditches, which greatly exceeded the scope and intent of the compromise according to Gunther.
"Many area farmers were rightfully concerned that the DNR was exceeding its buffer mapping authority, so I'm pleased we've eliminated the confusion," Gunther concluded.
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