On Wednesday, April 19, more than thirty members of CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) and the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) boarded a bus heading to the State Capitol from southwest Minnesota to take part in Water Action Day. Rural Minnesota was well represented, as members boarded the bus from Clarkfield, Appleton, Olivia, Montevideo, Marshall, Ortonville, Willmar, and more. Four additional buses from greater Minnesota also brought people to the event from the Austin, Winona, Park Rapids and Bemidji areas. This day of action provided an opportunity for constituents to actively engage with their legislators on water issues in Minnesota, and to attend a rally with over 30 organizations in support of clean water in the Capitol organized by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership. Long-time CURE and LSP member and western Minn. farmer and artist, Audrey Arner, emceed the rally, which brought together a large group of people that care very deeply about water quality in Minnesota.
Over 1,200 rally attendees heard messages in support of clean water from speakers like Governor Mark Dayton, environmentalist and political activist Winona LaDuke, and polar explorer Ann Bancroft, among others, and joined together to make their voices heard in the name of clean water for all. This legislative session has proved difficult for water quality protections in Minnesota. Some legislators are trying to undo good water quality initiatives currently in place through an omnibus bill being considered by the House and Senate right now, and have been resistant to additional legislative action for water quality improvements throughout the state. This is why, now more than ever, it is important to advocate for clean water. As Governor Dayton said during Water Action Day, it’s important to talk to our legislators that haven’t gotten the message about clean water yet, and to tell them “we want clean water, we want action, and we want it now.”