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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL)

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GOP Bill to Gut Clean Water Leaves a Very Bad Aftertaste

Thursday, March 24, 2011
St. Paul, Minnesota – Last night House Republicans voted in the House Environment committee on an omnibus bill that included huge rollbacks for protections of Minnesota natural resources. State Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL – Minneapolis) said weakening environmental protections is a major reversal in Minnesota’s long tradition of preserving our natural resources. “For Minnesotans who value our clean waters, this is going to leave a very bad aftertaste," said Wagenius. “The Republicans are gutting the funds used to protect drinking water sources and neglecting a core government responsibility to ensure we are keeping our natural resources clean and protected for the next generation.” Along with weakening clean water protections, the bill diverts money raised from the state’s dedicated lottery funds to partially fill some of the large funding gaps in the natural resource agency budget. “Minnesotans have always been worried that this dedicated account fund would be raided and now has happened,” said Wagenius. Initiatives proposed by the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources designed to promote renewable energy were also eliminated in the proposal. Wagenius said it was clear the budget decisions were based on politics, not science. “It was as if the Republicans flew back in time and passed a bill that ignored scientific research,” said Wagenius. “The Republicans apparently had no interest in passing an environment bill that looked forward.” The bill we be heard today in the House Ways and Means committee. -30-
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