Conservation groups send letter to Capitol demanding R-E-S-P-E-C-T for hunting, fishing, and conservation funding

(Rob Drieslein photo)

Eight state conservation groups on Thursday afternoon sent a letter demanding that the state Legislature and governor respect natural resources protection and funding in the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.

The groups cited the constitutional intent and integrity of several amendments to the state constitution over the past three decades. All eight groups were part of the 2008 Legacy Amendment Coalition. They insist that dedicated funds from the 2008 Legacy amendment and Environmental Trust Fund be used as intended and as approved by the citizens of Minnesota.

“In each of these cases, the citizens of Minnesota overwhelmingly voted to raise and dedicate funds to expand protection and restoration of our land, water and habitat, and to protect our right to hunt and fish,” the letter said.

Conservationists and environmentalists have had a long list of concerns with outdoors priorities emerging from the state Legislature this winter and spring. The state Senate’s 2017 Legacy bill mostly has followed recommendations from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, though the House version appropriates fewer dollars for acquisition. The House version also would use a chunk to fund the state’s commitment to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which traditionally used bonding dollars.

Other concerns include DNR funding and demands from the Republican-controlled legislature to further water down the state buffer law that passed in 2015.

After several vetoes from Gov. Mark Dayton, budget bills are being renegotiated and the bonding bill is yet to be finalized.

Readers can see the complete letter here. Minnesota’s 2017 Legislative Session ends on Monday, May 22.

In the meantime, citizens can find contact information for their state senators and representatives here.

Editor’s note: Outdoor News learned on Friday that the Izaak Walton League on Friday also intended to sign the letter.

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