Earlier this year Alpha News reported on Governor Dayton’s proposal to have fifty foot buffers on all perennial waterways in Minnesota. Later, we reported on a group of Farmers frustrated with parts of his proposal… So, what happened? And, Who is affected? Alpha News asked President of the Minnesota Farmers Union, Doug Peterson, for an update, who told us, “it’s not private ditches, and that’s one of the pieces that was negotiated, to the point where it was contentious – because when they cast the net they wanted to make sure everybody fell in to the same net for the clean water piece…”
The current law calls for 50 x 30 foot buffers on all public waterways, and 16.5 foot buffers on all public ditches – private land with qualifying waterways will be dealt with on a case by case basis after re-determination. Minnesota’s Legacy bill includes 5 million dollars to local government for implementation, and 650,000 dollars for DNR mapping. No money, however, is included to reimburse landowners for lost cropland, but there is 33 million dollars available in financial assistance to help landowners meet or exceed buffer requirements. Governor Dayton expressed the sentiments of other environmental advocates, stating that this is a “very important first step, but it’s not the last step.”
According to Peterson, when environmental groups push for blanket legislation at the State and Federal level, that it could actually have an adverse affect on land owners and farmers, stating, “A little criticism back on to our environmental friends, you don’t know 100 percent about how the land lays in all of the states, so you have to have the ability to be flexible within these rules and regulations to accomplish what you want, if you don’t have this flexibility you’re going to be doomed to failure.”
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