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PCA/OEA merger will benefit industry at expense of citizens


Fri, Mar 18th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

There is a proposal in Governor Pawlentys’ budget to merge the Pollution Control Agency and the Office of Environmental Assistance. This is being brought forward under the guise of saving money and increasing efficiency. This always sounds good but the devil is in the details.The bill states the emphasis will be placed on the need to “protect the high priority core water-related activities of the department”. This is a thinly veiled excuse to relax the emphasis on air pollution and the electrical generating facilities and industry that produces air emissions.The Pawlenty proposal is to fund the combined PCA/OEA with 70% of the funds of the solid waste tax revenues (Environmental Fund) instead of the current 50% from this fund. This would allow the removal of 2.96 million general fund monies from the combined agencies budget. It would also reduce the combined agencies budget by $400,000. It also results in reduction of services and increase in fees.According to the PCAs’ own web site extolling the merger this $400,000 reduction would result in:•Delays in clean-up of “lower priority” landfill sites.•Decreased services in: Fiscal management; Human resource management; Information systems; Organizational development and training; Communication services; and Business systems.It would also require an increase in annual air emissions fees to maintain the same level of service in that area.Of the eight divisions of the PCA only one, the Technology Assistance and Education division, overlap the functions of the OEA. The PCA, whose function, is to keep the air, water, and soil unpolluted, has 759 employees. The OEA whose function is to educate citizens, business, and industry about avoiding pollution, has 59 employees. Their functions should not be complimentary but at times adversarial. Combining them would be, unnecessarily, causing a conflict of interest that would not be in the common good.The PCA appears to have become, at a minimum, schizophrenic about its’ function. At a maximum, it has been captured by industry, business, and legislators/politicians eager to cull favor and bring home the “bacon”. The PCA, in their administrative records, refers to applicants as “our customers” and to the general public commenting on proposals as “them.” The PCA appears to have forgotten their broader bases of “customers” are all the Minnesotans and American .....
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Mistrust of Maust was Heartland’s undoing

Fri, Mar 11th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Mayor Kurt Reicks & Members of the Preston City Council,  We're sorry to report that the Heartland Energy & Recycling project as has been presented, is no longer under consideration. We don't like to admit failure, but we hav ..... 
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A “Free Press” within a democracy

Fri, Feb 25th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

I believe I was in 5th grade when my dad was elected to the school board. The local headline, in our town of 2,300, read “Flaig wins by a landslide.” I recall that it was spring, and the two of us went to mass (on a week day!) to express our thanks f ..... 
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The devil is in the details

Fri, Feb 11th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Just when you were getting comfortable with the notion that it was the other guy that was getting screwed, ol’ George Bush put out his 2006 budget. And now you know it’s not just the poor that will be getting hammered, but people closer to home like ..... 
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A bad idea whose time has come, again

Fri, Feb 4th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

It’s that silly season - a time before the legislature has to agree on a budget and the real partisan fighting begins - when legislators can tease their constituents with the notion that they are going to sponsor a pork barrel bill in their name. [Read the Rest]

A View from the Potting Shed

Fri, Jan 28th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

OK men, now that I have your attention here is a reminder that Valentine’s Day will soon be here...Buy Fresh Flowers for Your Sweetheart!

Now is not too early to think about Valentine’s Day flowers. A tip to the wise – if you i ..... 
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Paying the price

Fri, Jan 21st, 2005
Posted in Commentary

George Bush’s second term as President upholds the notion that people get the kind of government they deserve. A fractious America, divided on everything from morals to pre-emptive war, did the best it could with the archaic two-party election appara ..... 
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Heartland pollution the worst known to mankind

Fri, Jan 21st, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Editor’s note: Loni Kemp of Canton served on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizens’ Board from 1990 to 1994. This is the comment letter she sent to the Citizens’ Board regarding the proposed Heartland Energy & Recycling tire-burning plant ..... 
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Renewable fuels and livestock production go hand in hand

Fri, Jan 21st, 2005
Posted in Commentary

The legislative session has begun, and much attention has been focused on Governor Pawlenty’s Livestock Advisory Task Force. While Governor Pawlenty has not yet formally reviewed the recommendations of the task force, I expect the final report to be ..... 
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