Thursday, June 11, 2015

Glass Houses, Selling Out

Two noteworthy bits of media goodness from the Star Tribune commentary pages today. First, the cartoon by Steve Sack:

And then there is the editorial. I almost never care much what the Strib editorial writers have to say, but today their thoughts on our legislature's upcoming special session nailed it, starting with the headline: Special interests win, environment loses.

The ag and environment bill, they write,

rolls back or undermines important safeguards. Among the lowlights: raiding millions of dollars from landfill cleanup funds, abolishing the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Citizens’ Board, exempting mining sulfide waste from solid-waste rules, allowing cities to unsustainably tap dwindling aquifers, and putting in place costly and time-consuming new hurdles clearly intended to keep state pollution control officials from doing their jobs.

At a time when there’s international alarm about shrinking bee populations, state lawmakers also approved funding to put deceptive “pollinator-friendly” labels on products that are not. Lawmakers also reprehensibly broke a widely heralded agreement that would have provided incentives for advanced biofuels development while spurring farmers to grow more perennials or cover crops as the raw material. The landmark incentives for these corn alternatives, which can help curb erosion and runoff, were jettisoned.

There’s more than a whiff of political payback in this bill and in another key action taken this session. The move to eliminate the 48-year-old MPCA Citizens Board came after its members voted in 2014 to require an environmental-impact statement from a proposed 9,000-head dairy operation, spurring outrage from some in agribusiness.
And all this in a state with a Democratic governor and the Senate controlled by Democrats (although key Senate leaders are from areas with strong mining interest groups). Imagine how much worse it could be, I guess.


Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Yes, I recently read a Salon piece about Michigan that broke my heart, even though it was mostly about situations I already knew about. I hope we can elect a more effective Democratic governor, but who ever knows?

Ms Sparrow said...

I sometimes feel sorry for Governor Dayton. He seems so burdened and conciliatory. I truly believe he is a good-hearted man besieged by cold-hearted politicians who are more concerned with staying in office than doing good things for out state.

Daughter Number Three said...

I feel sorry for Dayton, too, Ms Sparrow. I'm not sure if anyone else has seen the pro-Dayton meme graphic that's circulating through Facebook. Several of my cousins who live out East posted it.

The text lionizes Dayton's accomplishments, which is kind of nice, but there appears to be no knowledge of his bad fit with politics, despite his many positive qualities.