Minnesota: 2021 Spring Legislative Update
The Minnesota Legislature has been in session since January 6th, without many final actions to show for the time spent. In the past 12 weeks there has been a flurry of activity in the House and Senate, although from the perspective of clean water there are stark contrasts between the directions that they are headed in the remaining weeks until they adjourn on May 16th.
In the Senate, leadership has refused a hearing on legislation to ban PFAS in food packaging, a commonsense measure to protect Minnesotans from chemcials that risk human and environmental health.
Instead, the Senate has spent time working on legislation to lift the nuclear moratorium and stopping the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency from rule making procedures to reduce carbon emissions. The Senate is also moving forward with legislation to give industrial polluters free passes for actions prohibited by the federal Clean Water Act & Clean Air Act by limiting the agencies’ ability communicate with regulated parties.
It is disappointing to see so little positive action from this closely divided body.
In the House, leadership has held hearings to tackle some of the biggest challenges including climate change, reducing environmental injustices, and providing opportunities to better protect our public lands, waterways and air from harm. They are supportive of several provisions meant at removing PFAS from our everyday lives including in food packaging, the waste stream, contamination in our groundwater.
Unfortunately, the House members know that anything they pass currently faces a brick wall in the Senate.
Work is just really beginning on the Minnesota state budget. The budget is the only item that the Legislature is technically required to complete this Session – and it appears that it will go down to the wire with issues on both sides being used for leverage. Minnesota does have a projected surplus which has helped somewhat, but in this highly politicized climate every decision is impacted by the bigger partisan stances.
How You Can Help
The remaining weeks will be difficult to guess what will pass and what will be cut from a final deal. One of the biggest things that you can do is to reach out to your State Representative and Senator to tell them that clean water is important to you. Take action to support banning PFAS in food packaging and against lifting the nuclear moratorium.
There are many sensible ways that our elected lawmakers can act during this session to ensure a safer and brighter future for all of us. They need to hear it from you.
Check out our Minnesota page for current actions and ways you can help: cleanwater.org/states/minnesota/actions, and thank you for helping to protect clean water!