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Matthew Davis, Detroit Lakes, Minn., Published August 10 2012

Bad legislation for NE Minnesota

The lakes, rivers, forests and wetlands of Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region are some of our country’s most sacred resources. They are enjoyed by local residents, by people from all over Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, and by those from the far-flung corners of the United States.

Future generations are depending on today’s elected leaders to make the right decisions to ensure that these treasures remain intact forever.

Legislation introduced in May by Rep. Chip Cravaack (H.R. 5544 – the Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act) abdicates this responsibility by expediting a proposed exchange of Superior National Forest land for land in the Boundary Waters that is owned by the Minnesota School Trust. The bill exempts the proposed exchange from environmental review, removing state and federal oversight and, most importantly, eliminating the opportunity for the public to weigh in on a proposal that could change the face of our state forever.

The goal of removing school trust lands from the BWCA could be more easily achieved through a federal buyout of the lands. A “sale-only” option would provide guaranteed revenue for the trust without sacrificing Minnesota’s natural legacy. This is clearly the better course of action.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, please make the right decision for Minnesota’s future by opposing H.R. 5544 if/when it comes up in the Senate.