On Wednesday, April 10th, Mother Nature showed us the power of climate change with a sudden onset of a spring snowstorm, but that didn’t stop over 450 Minnesotans from coming to St. Paul, rallying, and educating legislators on the importance of clean water and protections for the next generation.
Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but our water is in crisis. Water Action Day participants lobbied lawmakers on the importance of protecting our fresh drinking water now and into the future. In addition to meeting with their representatives, participants attended training on a range of issues that focused on action and advocacy.
A new addition this year: the Environmental Town Hall with state agency leadership. The panel included:
- Will Seuffert, Environmental Quality Board Executive Director
- Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler, Minnesota Department of Health Assistant Commissioner for Health Improvement
- Dave Weirens, Board of Water and Soil Resources Assistant Director for Programs & Policy
- Jess Richards, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Assistant Commissioner
- Laura Bishop, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner
The Town Hall proved to be a great opportunity for people to share their concerns about the state of Minnesota’s waters and to ask direct questions of the major decision-makers for water in the state. Topics covered pipelines (both oil and water), indigenous participation in state decisions, reinstatement of the MPCA Citizens’ Board, invasive species, the impact of climate change, and permitting.
The day was capped off with the Clean Water Rally in the Capitol rotunda featuring speakers:
- Reena Petrich, a 14-year-old Ojibwe Water Walker from southwestern Minnesota
- Thom Peterson, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner
- Willa Childress, an organizer from Pesticide Action Network
- William Chatterjei, a 5th grader from Sunny Hollow Montessori, St. Paul
- Rep. Todd Lippert, Minnesota House of Representatives – District 20B, Northfield
Special thanks to everyone who took the day to be a voice for water! You spoke to your legislators, shared your concerns and questions with commissioners, and cheered at the rally.
Watch CURE member Reena’s speech at the Clean Water Rally and listen to her call to action:
What will YOU do for the water?
Water Action Day 2019 was made possible by the following 31 sponsors and 18 supporter groups:
Sponsors helped fund the event and assist with organization and promotion. 2019 sponsors included: Anglers for Habitat, Audubon Minnesota, Clean Water Action, Clean Up Our River Environment (CURE), Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River, Conservation Minnesota, Duluth for Clean Water, Environment Minnesota, Environmental Working Group, Fish & Legislative Wildlife Alliance, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest, Friends of the Mississippi River, Friends of Pool 2, The Humane Society of the United States, Izaak Walton League, Land Stewardship Project, League of Women Voters – Upper Mississippi River Region, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Minnesota River Congress, Mississippi River Network, Our Revolution – Minnesota, Pesticide Action Network, Pollinator Friendly Alliance, Save Our Sky Blue Waters, Save Lake Superior Association, Save the Boundary Waters, Sierra Club Northstar Chapter, WaterLegacy.
Event supporters helped promote the event and assisted with coordination and organizing. 2019 supporters included: American Sustainable Business Council, Alliance for Sustainability, Cannon River Watershed Partnership, Environmental Coalition at St. Olaf, Environmental Justice Coordinating Council, Environmental Student Association at the U of M, Honor the Earth, Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, Minneapolis Area Synod, MN350, The Nature Conservancy, Public Policy Project, Take Action MN, Transition Longfellow, Trout Unlimited, The Water Bar, Wilderness in the City, Women’s March MN.