Dining on the environment (www.jewishjournal.com).
by Steve Timmer
May 20, 2015, 4:30 PM

You want Dill on that Tomassoni?

[I’ve been indisposed and haven’t written much for a while. Sorry.]

The close of the recent legislative session will probably set the bar for skullduggery on a number of fronts, not the least of which is the environment. HF 846, the odious Agriculture and Environment Omnibus Budget Bill contains a lot of policy in it — bad policy — some of which wasn’t in bills from either body of the Legislature that were presumably being harmonized by the conference committee.

You can see the history of HF 846 here. You might want to pay especial attention to a couple members of the conference committee that put this one together; we’ll get to that in a moment.

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership has written a letter to Governor Dayton, outlining the most offense provisions of the bill, and asking him to veto it. You really do need to read the letter’s description of the bill, including how it will permit plants and seeds that will only kill a bee on second contact, not first, to be labeled “pollinator friendly.”

I’ll just concentrate on a couple of items from the letter, though, and they both relate to mining. First, this:

Surprise Sulfide Mining Amendment (Art. 4, Sec. 117, Lines 171.17-21): the bill exempts sulfide mining waste from solid waste rules. This amendment was never introduced as a bill or heard in any committee, and its future effect is unknown. Exempting as-of-yet unknown waste streams from potential sulfide mines is an unnecessary risk to water quality and public health. Nobody has been able to explain how or whether this would apply to PolyMet and other proposed mines.

And this:

Suspending Wild Rice Protection (Art. 4, Sec. 136, Lines 183.26 – 184.14): forbids the PCA from requiring investments to comply with the sulfate standard, which protects wild rice, until the PCA completes a new rulemaking on the wild rice standard.

It is not a coincidence, of course, that two Range legislators, Sen. David Tomassoni and Rep. David Dill, were on the conference committee. I wonder which one brought the sulfide mining amendment to the meeting in his pocket; maybe they both did. These two have also practically traded chairship of the IRRRB for a number of years.

They are not friends of an environment you or I want to live in, hike or paddle through, or fish in.

If this skulduggery disgusts you, and I think it should, you can do two things. Contact Governor Dayton right away (a veto decision will be made soon), and attend a rally at the Governor’s residence on Thursday, May 21st at 10:30 A.M.

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