I hope your summer is going well. I want to update you on several issues.
First of all, thank you to all the people who have worked so hard on the recovery efforts in the Brainerd Lakes area after storms caused substantial damage on July 12. It’s a big job, but great progress has been made. Our resorts, restaurants, golf courses and other attractions are open for business.
I also want to thank Gov. Dayton and U.S. Rep. Nolan for visiting the area with Sen. Ruud, Rep. Heintzeman, and myself to see firsthand the storm damage and the exceptionally effective recovery response in repairing that damage.
On a related note, folks should understand Mille Lacs Lake remains open for walleye fishing. In additional to walleye, northern pike, musky and small mouth bass abound in the lake. Fishing remains exceptional!
A recent DNR news release noted that because of the excellent walleye catch so far this year, we may be approaching the safe harvest level. We need a bit more data before any decision is made as to how that impacts walleye fishing. This is an evolving situation. I will update you as soon as additional information becomes available.
In the meantime, Mille Lacs remains a premier fishing lake. In addition to walleyes, the lake contains huge numbers of smallmouth bass and northern pike. Also, recent reports indicate that muskies larger than 50 inches have never been more abundant in the lake.
Recently, I joined fellow legislators in signing a pair of letters. One letter asks Attorney General Lori Swanson to join other states in challenging the federal Environmental Protection Agency's new rules redefining what are considered federal "navigable" waters in the state. We are asking her to add Minnesota to the growing coalition of states opposing expanded rulemaking authority under the Waters of the United States Rule and the Clean Water Act. The EPA's new authority – is set to go into effect Aug. 28 – it would greatly expand federal regulatory authority over state waters.
Our elected officials in Washington DC have failed to stand up for Minnesota on this issue. We are fully capable of effectively regulating our vast water resources. Unfortunately because our elected representatives in Washington DC continue to knuckle under to the bureaucrats at EPA, we are left with no choice but to ask the federal court to stop this grievous abuse of federal rule making authority.
To date, more than half of the nation's states have filed a lawsuit against the EPA. Neighboring states Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota, also are included on the list of states bringing this issue to a federal court. I believe Minnesota should join them.
In the other letter, I along with 64 other legislators, urged Gov. Dayton, to investigate Planned Parenthood clinics in the state to determine whether the group is illegally (and disgustingly) harvesting organs during abortions and selling them. Recent videos showing Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services detailing how some of their affiliates are performing abortions in a manner that keeps the baby’s heart, lungs and liver intact. The discussion in the video also addressed how much money some organizations would be willing to pay local Planned Parenthood chapters for the harvested organs.
It is disappointing the governor has publicly rejected our request. Failing to determine whether Planned Parenthood here in Minnesota is in compliance with federal law is a callous disregard of our duty to protect our most vulnerable, the unborn. The public deserves to know whether this taxpayer funded non-profit is or is not engaging in this kind of activity here in Minnesota.