Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Groundwater at MNDNR all wet

photo of Japanese garden pool at Como Park
© harrington
Welcome. Thanks for coming. Look at the scene above. Doesn't it look peaceful, quiet, tranquil even? It may be the only water-related aspect of Minnesota that's not getting turbulent and over-extended. Do you by any chance remember that many postings ago, My Minnesota raised a question about whether groundwater withdrawal permits were actually evaluating the need for the withdrawal? Here's the original. I haven't heard yet that anyone is looking into the analysis supporting current permits. Well (pardon the pun), first things first. It turns out DNR isn't doing a very good job of enforcing the terms of the permits they do issue. Today, Minnesota Public Radio has an interesting story with the lead "Hundreds of water permit holders pumping more than allowed."The part that really caught my attention though was the statement that "But if the DNR is looking the other way on over-pumping, the agency is focused on at least one part of the water permit program: collecting fees from water permit holders. With few exceptions, they pay for the water they pump, and when they exceed their limit, they must pay more. The agency collects about $4 million a year from those fees."[emphasis added] This approach reminds me of the days when the Catholic Church sold indulgences. The more sinners sinned, the more the Church could collect. Does Minnesota have the environmental equivalent of a Martin Luther to lead a reformation? It sure seems to me like we could use one. Maybe the Anishinaabe could offer some guidance. The Protect Our Manoomin web site and blog has a listing of 7 guiding principles [scroll to the bottom of the page] that I wish DNR and some other state agencies would follow. I mean really, what's the sense of paying taxes (I know, I sound like a republican or a libertarian) if the agencies that are tax supported aren't doing their job properly? I don't want bigger government, or smaller government, I want better government. How about you? Stop by again to see if My Minnesota's all washed up or hung out to dry.