FMR supports the call to reinstate the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizens’ Board

by Trevor Russell

Peter Gove, one of FMR's founders and the first commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, on the role of the citizens' board on a precedent-setting case for public oversight of pollution.
 

Earlier this session, FMR joined with 22 organizations from across the state to ask legislators reinstate the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) Citizens’ Board. Here's our ask: 

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To: Members of the Minnesota House of Representatives and Minnesota Senate

Re: MPCA Citizens’ Board

Dear Members,

We are writing to express our strong support for House File 973 and Senate File 627 to reestablish the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) Citizens’ Board.

The Citizens’ Board was established in 1967 with the creation of the MPCA to ensure the agency serves the public interest and to establish an open and transparent decision-making process. The Board:

  • Ensured the environmental review process was democratic.
  • Gave a voice to Minnesotans to express their concerns about proposed large-scale industrial projects that threatened their communities.
  • Served as a check and balance on the actions of the agency’s staff and commissioner.
  • Ensured that agency decisions were made in full daylight and public view.
  • Promoted public engagement in the political process and in the environmental review process.

The legislation to abolish the Citizens’ Board was among the most controversial of the 2015 legislative session. The language was inserted into the Agriculture and Environment Budget Bill by the conference committee chairs in the last hours of the regular 2015 session, thus avoiding meaningful public hearings.

Reinstating the Citizens’ Board would reinstate democracy in the environmental review process. We thank you for your consideration and urge you to support this important legislation.

Sincerely,
Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Alliance for Sustainability
Austin Coalition for Environmental Sustainability (A.C.E.S.)
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Clean Water Action – Minnesota
Duluth for Clean Water
Environment Minnesota
Environmental Working Group
Friends of Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas
Friends of the Mississippi River
Lakeville Friends of the Environment
Land Stewardship Project
League of Women Voters Duluth
League of Women Voters Minnesota
Mankato Area Environmentalists
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Minnesota Native Plant Society
Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota
Save Our Sky Blue Waters
Voyageurs National Park Association
WaterLegacy
Wilderness in the City

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