Groups Ask MN Lawmakers to Make Clean Water a Priority

Groups Ask MN Lawmakers to Make Clean Water a Priority Click to Enlarge

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Environmental groups say clean water is under attack in Minnesota, and this Wednesday, they're planning a peaceful counterattack.

Water Action Day is May 2 at the State Capitol, when representatives from more than 30 groups will rally and meet with lawmakers. Among their concerns are Senate File 2983, which they say would remove the state's sulfate and nitrate standards, and Senate File 2705, which would impose a 16-year holiday on any new water quality standards for industry.

And there are others. Tim Schaefer, director at Environment Minnesota, said clean, safe water shouldn't be a partisan issue.

"It's something that affects everyone," Schaefer said. "We used to have a really solid consensus on the fact that we all need to be stewards of the environment. That has unfortunately disappeared over the last few years."

Gov. Mark Dayton and former Republican U.S. Sen. David Durenberger will speak at the Water Day rally, along with Winona LaDuke, an advocate for indigenous peoples' rights. This is the second-annual Water Action Day - more than 600 people participated last year.

Organizers are hoping to see at least 1,000 participants at this year's events, from all over the state. They've arranged bus trips to the Capitol from Austin, Duluth, Detroit Lakes, Houston and more. Schaefer said he hopes the training sessions that are part of Water Action Day will help participants become even better advocates for clean water.

"We train them on what's important, what's happening right now in the Legislature," he said, "and then give them the tools to effectively persuade legislators."

Schaefer said there's no cost to attend. Pre-registering online at is encouraged, but not necessary. About 30 different organizations are listed as partners or sponsors of the event.

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