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MN Environment and Energy Report Card: Submit Your Comments NOW!

Urging citizen comments on the 2012 Minnesota Environment and Energy Report Card.

Deadline for comments: Tuesday, January 15th, 4:00 p.m.

In November, 2012, the State of Minnesota issued the Minnesota Environment and Energy Report Card: Environmental and Energy Measures Critical for Our Quality of Life (http://www.eqb.state.mn.us/documents/EQB%20Final%202012%20Report%20Card.pdf ). 

The Report Card is about the State’s water, land, air, energy use, and climate. 

The Report Card will allegedly guide state policy on the environment and energy. 

The public was invited to attend any of six statewide forums organized by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to provide comments and input on the
Report Card. Although attendance at the forums exceeded expectations, no
public record was made of citizen comments.  Decision-makers have not committed to revising the Report Card based on citizen input.

My husband and I attended the forum in Bloomington on November 27.  Forums were held in Rochester, St. Cloud, Duluth, Worthington, Bloomington, and Moorhead. The attendance in Bloomington exceeded expectations. The mechanics of the sound system and accommodating the overflow crowd occupied the first part of the evening. Subsequently, commissioners from nine State departments made introductory statements. 

Part of the audience had the chance to vote on each of the report card topics, but this data was skewed because there were an insufficient number of computer-connected vote clickers (~190 versus ~300 attendees). This computer-recorded vote was one of the ways the EQB was able to gather information, but at least one third of the attendees were excluded from voting. I was subsequently told that similar overflows, and consequently exclusions, occurred in the other EQB presentations across the State.

Directed, small group discussions occupied the second half of the evening. Among the overflow crowd, we had to scramble to form discussion groups with ad hoc
facilitators / comment recorders.  We were directed to make comments on the following three questions:

1. What concerns, if any, do you have related to quality of life now and in the
years to come?

2. If you have concerns about the next generation’s quality of life, can you
envision a better scenario? What does your vision for an ideal future quality
of life look like?

3. What actions do you propose we take (as individual citizens or as a state) to
address these issues in the years to come?

In our ad hoc group of 15 individuals, people were overwhelmingly concerned with inaccuracies in the State Report Card, and deteriorating conditions for land, air and water in Minnesota. Many comments pointed out omissions, errors, and misleading information in the Report Card.   

Many of the concerns voiced were linked to land, water and public health impacts of sulfide mining and frac sand mining; inadequate enforcement of State laws by the DNR (e.g. water extraction from the Poplar River for the manufacture of artificial snow at a Lutsen ski resort); disregard of scientific principles in legislative and DNR establishment of a MN wolf hunting season; concerns about legislative “streamlining” of environmental reviews; etc.

The evening concluded with “reports” summarizing each discussion group to the main audience.  Despite numerous directed questions, we were unable to ascertain any way that these opinions would be collected and/or used for modification of the Report Card and subsequent environmental and energy policies.

Your voice is essential to improving state policy.

A statewide Environmental Congress [date and location TBD (March 2013)] is the next step in this process. State leaders will meet in a one-day summit to review report card findings, discuss public feedback received at citizen forums, and begin planning a blueprint for Minnesota’s environmental future.

It is critical that you review and submit written comments on the Report Card, so that corrections and modifications may be considered before the Environmental Congress is held. It is important that you submit written comments to the state online, even if you attended a forum.

Review the Report Card (Note: the Report Card is an 8MB file)

Send your written comments:  

Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota mark.dayton@state.mn.us

Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Ellen Anderson, Senior Advisor on Energy & Environment   Ellen.Anderson@state.mn.us

Tell your legislators about your concerns:

Senator John Marty, Chair, Environment and Energy Committee    sen.john.marty@senate.mn

Rep. Melissa Hortman, Chair, Energy Policy Committee     rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn

Rep. David Dill, Chair, Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee

rep.david.dill@house.mn

Rep. Jean Wagenius, Chair, Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance Committee      rep.jean.wagenius@house.mn

Deadline for comments: Tuesday, January 15th, 4:00 p.m.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Shawn Aune January 25, 2013 at 02:31 PM
The global picture is summed up beautifully right here. http://www.tullettprebon.com/Documents/strategyinsights/TPSI_009_Perfect_Storm_009.pdf

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