ST. PAUL – Gov. Mark Dayton’s appointees at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources have introduced a proposal result in thousands of dollars in fines annually for farmers who are even a few feet out of compliance across their entire property.
The Administrative Penalty Order BWSR issued last week would fine farmers out of compliance with Minnesota’s riparian buffer law by up to $500 per linear foot. Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, has opposed new buffer regulations and said he strongly disagrees with the proposed fine structure.
“Buffer law already is very unpopular in Greater Minnesota and it has strained relationships between citizens and government,” Urdahl said. “The excessive fine structure BWSR put forth certainly is not going to help the situation and gives people all the more reason to believe state agencies in St. Paul are clueless to life outside the Twin Cities. We will continue working to resolve this situation and a more productive goal would be to incentivize buffer implementation instead of punishing non-compliance.”
A public comment period lasts until 4:30 p.m. April 16 and can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by U.S. mail at the following address:
Buffers and Soil Loss Operations Supervisor
Board of Soil and Water Resources
3555 9th Street NW, Suite 350
Rochester, MN 55901
The House Agriculture Policy Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed penalties 10:15 a.m. Thursday in Room 5 of the State Office Building in St. Paul (100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155).