This week, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency made several major announcements regarding water pollution across the state and new efforts to improve water quality in the state’s rivers, lakes, and streams.
Environment Minnesota Advocate Samantha Chadwick issued the following statement:
“Around half of Minnesota’s waterways are classified ‘impaired’ meaning they don't meet water quality standards and may be unsafe for fishing and swimming. This week 500 water bodies or river segments were added to the impaired list and about 30 were removed. This announcement further emphasizes the urgency of protecting and restoring clean water in Minnesota.
Many of Minnesota’s water problems are caused by pollution from agriculture, especially nitrogen contaminating waters like the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. A major new state study this summer revealed over 73 percent of the nitrogen problem comes from cropland.
Minnesota leaders must move forward with aggressive solutions. The state has recently proposed a new ‘nutrient reduction strategy’ as well as key science-based limits for phosphorus pollution. Clean-up can only be successful if science-based pollution limits are put in place, the biggest polluters are held accountable, and clean-up plans are seen through to completion. The data show that purely voluntary measures are not adequate to reduce pollution by the levels necessary, particularly when it comes to agricultural pollution.
Environment Minnesota looks forward to working with Governor Dayton’s administration, the Pollution Control Agency, leaders and citizens across the state to put in place effective pollution reduction policy that restore and protect Minnesota’s rivers and waterways.”
Public events will be held around the state in December. Citizens can learn about the state’s nutrient reduction plan and submit their feedback. Schedule and details at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/mpca-news/featured-stories/open-houses-set-on-strategy-to-reduce-nutrients-in-waters.html