Reader's View: DNR needs oversight, not big bucks
The Jan. 26 News Tribune story, "Dayton wants big bucks for natural resources," motivated me to write to convince readers otherwise. In numerous opinion letters, I've alleged that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources proposed a bogus fis...
The Jan. 26 News Tribune story, "Dayton wants big bucks for natural resources," motivated me to write to convince readers otherwise.
In numerous opinion letters, I've alleged that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources proposed a bogus fish habitat project on the Dark River, north of Chisholm. DNR officials also defrauded the Legislature, private donors, anglers, and a landowner whose property is located about 7 miles downstream of U.S. Steel's Minntac tailings basin. No one, however, including our local legislators, did protest marches or seemed to care about the landowner's constitutional rights.
Last November the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Save Lake Superior Association, and Save Our Sky Blue Waters filed a lawsuit in Ramsey County against the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, alleging it didn't enforce water quality standards and Clean Water Act violations related to Minntac's tailings basin ("Lawsuit by environmental groups over Minntac permit is dismissed," Dec. 8).
Seizing the opportunity and the connection of the DNR's fish project to the Minntac's tailings discharge lawsuit, the landowner filed a motion to intervene in the environmental groups' lawsuit against the state of Minnesota, citing the DNR's own Clean Water Act violations on his Dark River property caused by the agency's backhoe in 2005. By paying $531 and in sworn affidavits, the landowner submitted the substance of my past opinion letters as evidence.
But in December, the lawsuit from the three environmental groups was dismissed. Therefore, the landowner was denied the opportunity to present evidence. For now, my letters to the News Tribune remain only in the court of public opinion. They aren't in the Ramsey County District Court, and the unrepentant DNR remains unscathed.
Citizens need to question every DNR request for money. Tell your legislators the DNR needs more oversight, not big bucks.
David G. Holmbeck