Weather Forecast


Reader's View: Excess regulations occasionally need draining

The Aug.30 letter, "Traveling Trump hasn't drained corruption," deserves a response from a supporter of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Ever since Trump coined the phrase, "drain the swamp," there has been pushback from those still unhappy about last November's election, those who dislike our president, and those who seemingly want more government regulations.

As a self-proclaimed expert on government regulations, I didn't think the letter expressed an understanding of why a bad system of excess regulations occasionally needs draining.

I worked 37 years for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and reviewed approximately 2,000 environmental permits for projects, including wetlands, highways, residential developments, peat mining, and taconite mining. I also reviewed numerous environmental assessment worksheets. Ten years ago, as a DNR employee, I even reviewed PolyMet's NorthMet mine proposal, and I have been to that proposed mine site numerous times.

When the DNR has projects of its own, it issues itself permits; and it's the agency's dual decision-making role that can be problematic.

In opinion letters, I've alleged that in 2005, the DNR prepared an environmental assessment worksheet, issued itself a falsified permit, trespassed and defrauded a St. Louis County landowner, and secretly removed the landowner's stream riffle with a DNR backhoe, falsely claiming the riffle was an historical log splash dam (circa 1900). In order to get approval for its environmental assessment worksheet, another DNR unit was asked to verify that the stream riffle was, in fact, an historical log splash dam. Unfortunately, that DNR unit's report refuted the claim, and, thereby, exposed the trespass and falsified permit. Eventually, this will become public.

Legitimate regulations are designed to protect us citizens and our environment. They are not meant to be used for purposes of corruption.

David G. Holmbeck

Grand Rapids