Brainerd area residents are invited to join 500 Minnesotans who will gather Feb. 25 at the State Capitol in St. Paul to urge lawmakers to take action on legislation to protect Minnesota's lakes, rivers and streams.
The Minnesota Lakes Association is organizing free bus transportation with stops in Pine River, Pequot Lakes, Brainerd, Little Falls and St. Cloud to take area citizens to the Capitol for a day filled with training, rallies and individual meetings with legislators.
Participants first will attend a briefing on Protect Our Water issues, then gather on the Capitol steps at 11:45 a.m., before attending a rally at noon in the rotunda.
"This is an excellent opportunity for area residents who are concerned about the quality of the water in our lakes to talk to their legislators," said Paula West, executive director of the Minnesota Lakes Association.
Protect Our Water is the legislative agenda of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, the statewide coalition of 80 conservation and environmental organizations, including the Minnesota Lakes Association.
The 2003 Protect Our Water legislative agenda includes:
* Make dishwasher detergent phosphorus-free -- (S.F. 203/H.F.257) To protect lakes, rivers and streams from excessive algae blooms, Minnesota led the nation last year by making lawn fertilizers phosphorous-free in the metro area and at reduced levels outstate. This legislation will continue to reduce phosphorus by making dishwasher detergents phosphorus-free. Chief authors are Sen. Linda Higgins, D-Minneapolis, and Rep. Ray Cox, R-Northfield.
* Fix failing septic systems that are contaminating Minnesota waters -- To protect Minnesota waters from human waste and contamination, more than 200,000 faulty septic systems need to be fixed. This legislation strengthens existing laws to identify polluting systems and provides incentives for homeowners to fix them. Chief authors are Sen. Steve Murphy, D-Red Wing, and Rep. Kathy Tinglestad, R-Andover.
* Keep clean water a budget priority.
Residents who would like to join the Protect Our Water Citizens Day at the Capitol should contact Keri Hull at 800-515-5253 or email@example.com.
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