I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July Holiday! We rode in the Crosby and the Brainerd parades, followed by taking in a reading of Declaration of Independence at the Aitkin County Fairgrounds on the 4th.
I am still busy bailing hay during the day and spending the evenings in the fair booth at the Aitkin County Fair, which runs through Saturday evening. Great chance to visit with folks one-on-one.
This week the League of Minnesota Cities honored me as a Legislator of Distinction for 2017. The award was the result of legislation I carried increasing regulatory certainty for city wastewater treatment facilities. The measure stabilizes the application of current environmental water treatment standards to these important facilities.
The new law provides cities with reasonable assurance that they will not be forced to make frequent expensive changes to their facilities. Once MPCA permits a new facility or a major upgrade to an existing facility, the standards they are permitted too will remain in place at least until they have paid off the major portion of the debt they incurred to build or make the upgrades.
We permit the system to the current water quality treatment standards and then, as long as the system is working correctly, we leave it alone until the city has paid off most of debt for that upgrade.
This approach was opposed by many environmental groups under the misrepresentation that this measure lowered water quality standards. It does not lower any standards, rather it allows our cities to simply operate these plants through their normal design life cycle, before having to replace them.
I support strong clean water standards and Minnesota already has some of the very toughest in the nation. However, common sense has to prevail, we cannot continue to hammer our small rural cities with this kind of unwarranted expense.
Mille Lacs Lake was in the news again. The “Big Lake” was named the best bass fishing lake in the nation by Bassmaster Magazine. Last year the lake placed 6th in the nation, this year we are first the nation!
That’s a big deal, however we still have a lot of work to do. Mille Lacs Lake remains one of the nation’s very best walleye lakes, we just have to get the regulatory management back to the right place.