Tell the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce: Stop Defending Polluters

State Capitol

As we head into the final stages of the 2017 session of the Minnesota Legislature, the agenda Is clear: it’s open season on Minnesota’s clean air and clean water.

Among the many proposed rollbacks to critical environmental protections are some of the worst proposals being advanced with explicit backing of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Taken together, these provisions -- now included in the Environment Finance Omnibus Bill (HF888) -- amount to a major dismantling of Minnesota’s existing framework for critical decisions that impact our environment. The Minnesota Chamber is among the most prominent representatives of Minnesota’s business community at the Legislature, and includes among its membership many of Minnesota’s best known companies.

This cannot go unchallenged. While many businesses make a point of frequently touting their environmental credentials, they don’t tell you that they are also supporting these attacks on our environment – through membership dues, explicit support of the Chamber’s legislative agenda, or implicit support by simply remaining silent while the business community’s political weight is used to weaken protections for clean air and clean water.

We need your help to push back. Please sign our petition to Minnesota’s business leaders and ask them to oppose rollbacks to critical clean air and clean water protections.

Included within currently pending legislation are provisions to:

  • Gut Minnesota’s Environmental Quality Board, which brings agencies together and provides a forum for citizen input while tackling complex problems like climate change, frac sand mining and more.
  • Allow polluters to write their own environmental review, essentially ending a 40 year history of attempting neutrality when considering environmental impacts of a project
  • Severely limit the right to have a hearing with evidence and witnesses to challenge a permit to mine, forcing all permit challenges to go to the Court of Appeals
  • Allow large industries to buy their way to an expedited permit while doing nothing for smaller businesses that can’t afford to pay the price of moving to the front of the line
  • Add significant new barriers to the implementation of environmental rules, making it harder and more costly for agencies enact and enforce rules that protect our air and water.
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Your Message
Response needed: Rollbacks to environmental review and public input
As Minnesotans, we care deeply about our quality of life and the future of our state. That means ensuring that all Minnesotans have access to clean air, clean water and healthy communities. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Legislature is currently considering a variety of rollbacks to critical protections for our environment. Some of the worst provisions, originally House File 1433 and House File 1291/Senate File 1087 and now included in the Environment Finance Omnibus Bill (HF888), are being promoted by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Together, these bills amount to a major dismantling of our state’s existing framework for protecting our environment and public health. We understand that your company is a dues-paying member of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and therefore has a meaningful voice in the issues that the Chamber adopts on behalf of Minnesota’s business community. It is only fair that individuals and companies who enjoy this level of influence also assume some level of responsibility for how they use their position. Legislation being actively supported by the Minnesota Chamber so far in 2017 includes provisions that would do the following, and more: -Gut Minnesota’s Environmental Quality Board, which brings agencies together and provides a forum for citizen input while tackling complex problems like climate change, frac sand mining and more. -Allow polluters to write their own environmental review, essentially ending a 40 year history of attempting neutrality when considering environmental impacts of a project -Severely limit the right to have a hearing with evidence and witnesses to challenge a permit to mine, forcing all permit challenges to go to the Court of Appeals -Allow large industries to buy their way to an expedited permit while doing nothing for smaller businesses that can’t afford to pay the price of moving to the front of the line -Add significant new barriers to the implementation of environmental rules, making it harder and more costly for agencies enact and enforce rules that protect our air and water. Environmental rollbacks such as these do not serve the public interest, and we don’t believe they serve the interests of Minnesota’s business community either. We ask that your company take the following actions in response: 1. Publicly oppose rollbacks to environmental review and public input as proposed in House File 1291 and House File 1433 (now the Environment Finance Omnibus Bill, HF888) 2. Request that the Minnesota Chamber clarify for legislators that they do not speak in your company’s name when advocating for environmental rollbacks. Minnesota’s future success depends on maintaining BOTH a strong business climate and a healthy environment. Being asked to choose between these goals is a false choice – and we expect better from Minnesota’s business leaders.