Legislative Update

Legislative Update

Bill Banning Lead Fishing Tackle Watered Down: Despite the efforts of groups like the Audubon Society and the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, a Minnesota bill that would ban lead fishing sinkers and jigs has been watered down after heavy protests from the angling industry. The new bill promotes education and calls for state agencies like the Department of Natural Resources to develop incentive programs for fishermen to replace their lead fishing tackle.

Lead tackle is responsible for about twenty percent of loon deaths in Minnesota, an occurrence that environmental groups feel is easily avoidable by using non-toxic sinkers and jigs. The angling industry feels that Minnesota’s loon population is strong enough to withstand the use of lead tackle. The bill has recently passed the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and is headed to the Minnesota Senate floor.

Phosphorous Bill Moving Through House: The Protect Our Waters initiative sponsored by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) calls for a reduction in phosphorous content in dishwasher detergent. An alarming amount of phosphorous is dumped into our waters each year, leading to massive algal blooms. The bill (H.F. 1401) would restrict the phosphorus content in dishwasher detergent to 0.5% or less by 2005. The bill will be read in the Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee. For additional information on the Protect Our Waters Initiative, please visit the MEP’s website at www.mepartnership.org.

2002 Legislature Passes Phosphorus-Free Lawn Fertilizer Law: The 2002 Minnesota legislature was able to make significant progress in the effort to reduce phosphorus pollution by passing the nation’s first phosphorus-free lawn fertilizer law. Under this law, lawn fertilizer containing phosphorus cannot be sold in metro counties after January 1, 2004. Non-metro counties were limited to three percent phosphorus content for lawn fertilizers but were given the option to exceed this standard by selecting a zero phosphorus requirement. For additional information please visitwww.mepartnership.org.

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.