MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Pollution, parks, energy policy and other environmental issues grabbed the spotlight Tuesday evening at a debate among the four DFL candidates for governor.
The candidates agreed on much more than they disagreed on, including that there was a lot of work to be done in the environmental arena.
All of the candidates would push to make more land public, promote alternative energy sources and oppose any more nuclear storage at Prairie Island.
"Minnesota has traditionally been a leader in the environment, but I believe we have slipped behind in recent years," said Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe of Erskine.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency took a hit from each of the candidates, with all of them signaling Commissioner Karen Studders would be on her way out if they were elected.
Moe said the MPCA in recent years has been "reorganized into ineffectiveness" and that he would appoint a commissioner to that agency who would be an advocate for the environment.
State Auditor Judi Dutcher said the agency needs a strong leader who knows the issues, knows the environmental community and would work with others to protect the environment.
"I don't want the Pollution Control Agency to be known as the Pollution Permitting Agency," said Dutcher, who lives in Minnetonka.
State Sen. Becky Lourey, of Kerrick, called MPCA "an agency in crisis" and said it should be moving back toward its previous system of making polluters pay to keep the state clean.
Studders has said the department is struggling to deal with the change from dealing with illegal garbage dumps, leaking drums and belching smokestacks to a second wave of environmental problems.
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