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VAN Forum

Protecting Minnesota's Environment and Saving Dollars: The Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment and Apple Valley's Green Initiatives

October 12, 2009
10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Presenters:
Steve Morse, Executive Director, Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland, City of Apple Valley

Hayes Community and Senior Center
14601 Hayes Rd.
Apple Valley, MN 55124

915890small_848_01Minnesota passed the largest conservation ballet in American History ... the Legacy Amendment. The Amendment paves the way for clean water from all of our lakes and streams. It provides for the conservation of our natural wildlife habitat, our parks, trails, and recreation areas.  It contains provisions to fund the arts, arts education, history and cultural heritage.

While the amendment creates the mechanisms, we must act to ensure the funding is effectively disbursed.  This means each Minnesotan has the opportunity and responsibility to communicate our views to our legislators and governor.

Presenter, Steve Morse, is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Partnership, representing 80 environmental organizations in Minnesota. Steve will talk about what the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment means, how it made public policy history and how it became a landmark Constitutional Amendment, and what we can do to make sure the provisions are implemented.

The Forum will also feature Apple Valley's Be Program and tours of Apple Valley's Green Globe Award Winning Building will be available. Download the flyer.

 

FORUM NOTES

On Tuesday, October 13, 2009 older adults, presenters, and exhibitors gathered to learn about the Legacy Amendment and Apple Valley’s green initiatives. Forum Presenter Steve Morse, Executive Director, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, spoke about the Legacy Amendment and its implications for Minnesota. Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a coalition of 78 organizations committed to the protection and restoration of MN lakes, rivers, etc.

A former MN State Senator, Steve More said that his understanding of government and passion for the environment afforded him and countless others the patience and persistence in passing the Legacy Amendment. The idea behind the Legacy Amendment is ensuring that there are environmental legacies for future generations.

Last November, 1.6 million Minnesota voters voted yes to the Constitutional Legacy Amendment. Morse and others had been working for 10 years to get this constitutional amendment through the Legislature.  Increasing concerns over decreasing conservation funding fueled the passion necessary to create the Legacy Amendment.
The Legacy Amendment increases Minnesota state sales tax by 3/8 of 1% until the year 2034. This means that about 1/3 of the money generated from this increase will go to clean water about $80 million a year, 1/3 or about $80 million will be allotted for fish, game and wildlife. About 19.75% will go to fund arts and education which is about $48.786 million a year, and finally 14.25% will go to state parks/regional trails.

The benefits of the Legacy Amendment include increasing clean lakes, rivers, streams as 40% of waters in Minnesota are in violation of basic health standards. Only 21% of state waters have been tested. The remaining challenge is to ensure that money generated from the sales tax used for the established purposes.  To learn more about the Legacy Amendment and the work of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership visit www.mepartnership.org

Like the Legacy Amendment’s aim of leaving an environmental legacy for future generations, Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland said that Apple Valley is also concerned about this. The City of Apple Valley is home to the School of Environmental Studies, which Mayor Mary attributes to her getting involved in local politics.

With Mayor Mary’s passion for the environment, and forward thinking approach, the City of Apple Valley has adopted many green initiatives for its city. Two Apple Valley buildings have been built utilizing natural light. The buildings have energy efficient lamps and used recycled and recyclable materials. In a newer energy efficient building, the Hayes Community and Senior Center has low flush toilets to eliminate the amount of water used.

Also well-known is that the City of Apple Valley has a municipal liquor store that operates on geothermalenergy. This is a green globe award winning building. It also utilizes solar tunnels for natural lighting. The liquor store was the 1st green globe certified building in the state of Minnesota. The second green globe award winning building in Minnesota is the Hayes Community and Senior Center.

Mayor Mary also talked about Apple Valley’s Be Program. The Be (better energy) program is designed to help Apple Valley homeowners reduce their energy use and save money by improving their homes. Be is a one -stop energy program Apple Valley residents can go to help reduce costs and use energy better. The goal is for 1000 residents to participate by the end of 2010.

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