First I went to the...
Committee on Environment and Natural Resources
Chair: Sen. Satveer S. Chaudhary
12:30 p.m. Room 107 Capitol
It was already in session when I arrived.
Gene Merriam (past Senator) now lobbying for the "Freshwater Society" was in center ring. They, the Freshwater Society and its "Green Guardians", were very vocal during the last election that the "Legacy Amendment" pass, as it did. They were suggesting that our drinking/tap water was in jeopardy and possibly hazardous.
(PS: the concept that 40% of Minnesota's lakes and streams are "un-swimmable and or un-fishable because those tested are, is laughable. Especially when you review the "criteria" to meet such a label. None-the-less the populace was frightened into voting for the taxing Amendment to the constitution. By the way, the MN Dept of Health -also full of eco-freaks- talked about methomoglobenemia threats to our children from high nitrate levels in the groundwater, however my research shows two cases reported in the 1980's in the extreme and arid south west corner of the State. Yet they still allowed the fear mongers to peddle their nonsense.)
Anyway "green guardian" Gene Merrium was there to tell us we need to make a dramatic cultural shift. He wants more regulation of "hard surfaces". Roads and parking lots should be made more pervious to water.
He also suggested we leave water where it falls with "rain gardens" and "rain barrels". Now that's a new idea.
He thinks Minnesota, especially its farmers, need to change. We are responsible for a "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. Right, Minnesota is polluting Louisiana. Ha!
(note: Hypoxic zones are a natural phenomena present around the globe, especially in relatively shallow areas in warm climates with minimal current. Like along the Gulf Coast shoreline. Any SONARMAN knows this.)
Gene Merrium says we need a cultural shift in "what we grow, and where we grow it."
I find it interesting that he, and others who testified suggested that the "Ethanol Plants" are using too much water. Funny, he as a seated Senator pushed for the Ethanol Subsidies to combat Global Warming. Now they are using too much ground water.
He also says with "Global Warming" we should expect more frequent and intense storm events.
He was also suggesting a "Clean Water Legacy Law" which would include a new pricing structure for water. Yep, you heard right, we need to make your well and its water cost more to protect the groundwater.
In short Gene Merrium says to attain this "Cultural Shift" we need more Education, Regulation and Enforcement to protect the ground water.
After Ringmaster Merrium came the clowns from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency [MPCA].
The representative from this bloated, intrusive and redundant agency spoke of the citizen monitoring program and the groups (read environmentalists) that supported it. Also the money provided these groups was well spent and should be continued/increased to allow for continued monitoring State-Wide via the "Surface Water Assessment Grants".
She was followed by the woman, shot from the cannon, by the Environmental Quality Board [EQB]. The regular couldn't make it.
She said they will soon be able to tell us "how much ground water is available" and what the "sustainable use rate is". But not yet, there is lots of data holes to be filled.
Note: Minnesota has 87 counties, is the 12th largest State by area and is sparsely populated. The air is clean and the water pure.
She said we should have a ten year state ground water plan by 2010. This will be a "road map" to get us where we "want to be".
She echoed ringmaster Merrium in that we need to link land use decisions to ground water quality. She took this opportunity to mention the expected population growth (a bad assumption considering our growing tax burden), and also pointed to golf courses and the ethanol industry as examples of possibly "unsustainable" users of ground water.
She said they expect to bring in a "work plan" by February.
Then came the Lion Tamer from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources [DNR] Division of Waters. He said they would be working with the "Freshwater Society" i.e. Gene Merrium and the gang, to develop management areas, also with the aid of the EQB and the Board of Water and Soil [BWSR].
Also discussed was protecting our water from other areas that may want some, like the south west. Yep, they will make damn sure no water from Minnesota is siphoned off and over the Rockie Mountains to California. Whew, that was close, we could just be a dry gulch if not for these brave agencies.
The base assumptions are bad, and the solutions wouldn't work if there WAS a problem.
But it doesn't matter, they know better than you or me.
Then they adjourned and I went to the Committee on Energy Finance Policy.