Thursday, February 18, 2016

Demand a Legislative Process That Puts People First, Not Corporate Special Interests.
Restore the Citizens’ Board!

It was unbelievable. A democratic institution established in 1968 was abolished literally in the dark of night in the final hours of the 2015 state legislative session. The Citizens’ Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency had served as a testament to our Minnesota value that people deserve a say in the decisions that impact their lives and their communities.
The Citizens’ Board stood for people over corporate interests. This Board put citizens in a critical decision-making role and gave them a place to have their voices heard. That is what happened in August 2014 when the Board listened to farmers and rural neighbors opposed to a massive proposed 8,850-cow factory farm and ordered an in-depth environmental review. It was then that corporate interests began their attack of the Board.
The provision to abolish the Citizen’s Board was inserted in the last hours of the regular legislative session into the Omnibus Environment Finance Bill late at night. Many other rollbacks on bedrock environmental policy were included in this finance bill, making last session the worst in a decade for our environment. And even though a strong majority of DFL Senators opposed this provision and voted against it several times, it was still able to pass the DFL controlled Senate.  The fact is that the current structure of the Minnesota Senate favors corporate special interests when it comes to protecting our environment.
Thanks for your action,
Bobby King
Land Stewardship Project