Guest view: Last chance for wild rice hotdish?
Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), the statewide coalition of more than 80 conservation and environmental organizations, sent a tongue-in-cheek message to Minnesota legislators this week: Better enjoy your wild rice hotdish now - before o...
Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), the statewide coalition of more than 80 conservation and environmental organizations, sent a tongue-in-cheek message to Minnesota legislators this week: Better enjoy your wild rice hotdish now - before our waters are too contaminated to produce our state grain.
To celebrate Earth Week, MEP asked Minnesota voters to send their favorite wild rice hotdish recipes to their state legislators to underscore the host of "bad" bills and policy provisions that threaten Minnesota's lakes, rivers and streams; natural areas; wildlife habitat; and parks and trails.
"While Minnesota legislators are at home in their districts this week, we suggest that they enjoy an iconic Minnesota wild rice hotdish - while we still have edible wild rice," said the group's executive director Steve Morse. Morse was referring to a policy provision tucked into the Senate environment budget bill that would remove sulfate pollution standards for wild rice waters, threatening Minnesota's wild rice production and Native American heritage.
"During Earth Week, it is critical that all Minnesotans know there's an attack on Minnesota's Great Outdoors under way at the Capitol," said Morse, noting there are scores of bills and provisions that roll back Minnesota's environmental protections currently under discussion at the State Capitol. "We ask Minnesotans to take time this week to tell their legislators that they value Minnesota's great outdoors tradition and ask their lawmakers to stop this assault on Minnesota's air, land and water."
Among the other legislative measures that would rollback Minnesota's environmental protections:
- Removal of the requirement that new coal plants providing electricity to Minnesota offset their carbon pollution - delaying the development of clean energy jobs.
- Weakening water quality standards for phosphorus discharges into Lake Pepin
MEP said additional assaults on Minnesota's environmental policy foundation include (view a list of bills and provisions at http://bit.ly/MEPBillList ):
- Severe cuts to the general fund conservation budgets that would result in an end of services, such as parks security, running water and grounds upkeep, in 10-12 state parks
- Prohibiting new water rules to protect and restore Minnesota's lakes, rivers and streams
- Repealing protections and allowing development along the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area
- Exempting large ethanol facilities from mandatory environmental review, and
- Weakening permit standards for large feedlots
"The vast majority of these provisions threaten Minnesota's lakes, rivers and streams, and that goes against the wishes of 1.6 million of Minnesotans who voted for the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment," Morse said.
"Our annual polling repeatedly shows that Minnesotans want to protect our lakes, rivers and streams. Clean water is the number one reason Minnesotans voted to raise their taxes for the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
"Earth Week is a time for all of us to reflect upon the Great Outdoors legacy we want to leave our children and grandchildren. We ask our state legislators to share a wild rice hotdish with their family and friends this week, and come back to work next week, ready to protect our air, land and water."
Submitted by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, a coalition of more than 80 Minnesota environmental and conservation organizations working together to protect and preserve Minnesota's precious natural environment.