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Legislative Update (3-14-17)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Neighbors,

As I have mentioned before, this session I drafted a bill to repeal the buffer law and I am currently seeking a hearing in the Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance committee.

In addition, some questions regarding clean water measure came up at a town hall last month, so I thought I would provide a little more information on the issue.

I have included links to two documents describing the condition of the waters in Minnesota. In summary, these documents indicate that buffers may not be effective in controlling phosphorus runoff into our waters, and that a there has been a long-term decrease in overall pollutant levels in Minnesota’s waterways without any buffer laws in place.

In this document:http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/goppdf/2036f0bd-c157-4c86-8fbc-722f3d794db7.pdf, the headline, “Soluble Phosphorus Losses in Spring Snowmelt Runoff in the Northern Great Plains,” tells us that the waters are improving. The article further explains that erosion control practices do little to mitigate the levels of phosphorus from our soil in flat agricultural land bases. In other words, the impact of buffers on improving water quality is likely negligible.

In addition, this report from the MN Pollution Control Agency:http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/goppdf/d146517e-0a93-4ed1-b8ee-7cc0425b8ff6.pdf, indicates that overall pollutant levels over time have decreased. The information at the beginning of the report states to get to “no trend” there has to be improvement.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, it is important to remember that these buffers are on privately owned land. Land owners are already paying property taxes to the bottom of the ditch. As a result of the new buffer law, the state is now mandating that land owners give up an additional 16.5 to 50 feet, while not reducing the tax burden or compensating them for the loss. Our constitution does not permit the taking of private property without proper compensation and reason.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, comments, or concerns.

 

-Steve

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