Monday, March 2, 2009

Today at the Capitol, the river was heard

It was my privilege to testify today before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources at the Minnesota State Capitol Building. My testimony was requested by Senator Ann Rest, who has renovated and re-introduced a Plastic Bag Recycling bill, now known as S.F. No. 267. (A similar bill was introduced last year by Senator Ellen Anderson, but it timed-out. Senator Rest took up the cause, “at the urging of one of her constituents.”)

Several weeks ago, I wrote Senator Rest (and members of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee) to encourage the re-introduction of this measure. My motives are quite simple: Based on the many miles and hours I have logged on our rivers, I know that what is being done now is insufficient. Plastic bags continue to represent a significant share of the “floatables” that we recover during our clean-up efforts. If more of them were captured for recycling, then fewer would end up in our landscapes, lakes, and rivers. This is an issue which can be more economically prevented than solved.

To this point, has remained fairly pure in its focus, speaking to matters of river restoration… ranging from geo-tagging the targets which need to be removed, to actual riverside clean-up efforts. It has remained fairly (albeit not completely) free of political debate. In an effort to keep it that way, I’ll reserve details of my testimony for our sister site,

I'll just add that there were a few different people in the hearing room today who spoke against the idea of this recycling bill. It is worth noting that while I shall not profit from the passage of this measure, each of the people who spoke against it represented industries or companies who will profit from its defeat. Still, I was given an equal measure of time to share my testimony. I liked that. Whether or not this bill prevails, and regardless of the final form it takes, it is important to appreciate that I was allowed to speak on behalf of the rivers we aspire to protect… and I was heard.

Thank you for that opportunity, Senator Rest, and thanks to each member of the Committee.

© 2009 Mike Anderson, Crystal, MN.

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