Six months ago, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) ordered an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for industrial potato producer R.D. Offutt's planned expansion project into the Pineland Sands Aquifer in north-central Minnesota. The project, which would use over 166 million gallons of water per year and risk contaminating the vulnerable aquifer with agricultural chemicals, relies on removal of vast stretches of forestland.
But R.D. Offutt (RDO) appealed the EAW order and the DNR dropped the requirement, replacing it with a taxpayer-funded study that will have no impact on the project's ability to proceed. The study has no avenue for public input and would rely on data provided by Offutt, while costing taxpayers millions of dollars and failing to hold the corporation accountable for environmental harm it may cause.
Citizens in the area — including members of the Land Stewardship Project and allied organization Toxic Taters — have filed a petition demanding an EAW and a public hearing on the process. Contact the DNR today and tell the agency to listen to the people and protect the water!
1. Call DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr at 651-259-5555 or e-mail him here:
Suggested message: Commissioner Landwehr, I am concerned about the impact R.D. Offutt's planned expansion will have on Minnesota's water and the health of our land and communities. It is the DNR's responsibility to use reliable public processes like the EAW to investigate and prevent potential environmental harm. As citizens we have the right to have input on that process and to know that our land and water will be safe. Please order RDO to complete a full environmental assessment worksheet and hold a public hearing in the affected area.
2. Sign the petition and spread the word to other Minnesotans.
For more information on this issue, contact LSP's Stephanie Porter at 612-722-6377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.