An appeal for the Legacy Amendment

On Nov. 4 we have an opportunity to protect our lakes and drinking water for the future by voting for the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. HereâÄôs why we need to use the Minnesota Constitution to fund clean water. State dollars are so tight weâÄôve only tested 17 percent of the waters and 40 percent of those have been found to be polluted. We canâÄôt afford to wait. We are blessed with an abundance of lakes, giving us an unparalleled quality of life. This gift also gives us a responsibility beyond what most states face: WeâÄôve got to protect those 15,000-plus lakes for ourselves and for future generations. If we allow them to become polluted by mercury, phosphorus, pesticides, fecal coliform and more, we wonâÄôt be able to swim, fish or drink the water years from now. The Minnesota Daily Editorial Board argued the Legislature should take care of clean water funding. In a perfect world, I agree. But we live in the real world. If the Legislature passed a dedicated tax, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has pledged to veto it, even for clean water. If we paid for clean water out of existing dollars, tuition and health care would be cut. But if you think our political system should take better care of the environment, you can change priorities by voting yes. Moreover, the public demands that lawmakers support public education, nursing homes and jails for criminals at the Capitol. Long term environmental needs always lose out to short term priorities. If clean water is adequately funded with its own dedicated tax, that frees up state dollars for holding down tuition, health care and other priorities in tough budget times. The Legislature decided with broad, bipartisan support to put this on the ballot; the Legislature and the governor will still have to debate and approve all the expenditures. And the amendment expires in 25 years. Please vote yes today for Clean Water! State Sen. Ellen Anderson represents District 66. Please send comments to [email protected]