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Legislative update

Friday, August 20, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

Busy week traveling. Tuesday my wife Linda and I had the pleasure of attending the Crow Wing County Farm Bureau Annual meeting at Brainerd. The group reviewed the past year’s accomplishments and held elections for the board of directors. Looking forward the members adopted a policy recommendation that will be forwarded for further consideration at the annual Minnesota Farm Bureau meeting this fall.

The resolution would reduce state agencies’ rule making authority and require all major policy decisions to go through the legislative process. Gov. Walz and the MPCA’s recent adoption of the California car auto emission standards completely sidestepping the legislative process is the most recent example of the executive branch abusing agency rule making authority.

As a long-time Farm Bureau member, citizen and legislator, I fully support making significant adjustments to agency rule making authority. Governors and state agencies are the executive branch, their duty is carry out the laws and policy established by the legislature. Their resolution is an excellent template for statutory change to existing agency rulemaking authority.

The seven-member bipartisan Iron Range Delegation issued a letter asking the DNR for a timely conclusion to a languishing Twin Metals Environmental Impact Study (EIS) which, soon will enter its third year. I along with my fellow Northeast legislators expressed our concerns with the lack of timely progress on a Twin Metals EIS.

We have a very thorough process for examining environmental impacts, however the apparent lack of progress requires attention. We know how to both protect the environment and safely mine. Non-ferrous mining has the potential to provide major economic benefits to our state, plays a critical role in our national security and will significantly contribute to Minnesota’s K-12 public school funding.

On Thursday I visited with Enbridge Line 3 officials to discuss construction progress and visited a pump station that is undergoing testing to make it ready for operations.  The project is on schedule and very close to completion. Most the pipeline route has been smoothed and seeded. Like all of us they are awaiting for rain to get the grass growing.

Later that day I visited with US Steel officials and toured the MINTAC taconite mine and pellet processing facility. We discussed the extensive procedures that are involved in ensuring the environment is protected as Minnesota continues to provide our nation with the raw material to produce steel.