GOOD Good Morning. St. Paul, Friday, June 29, 2001.
This morning at 1:40 AM the Coldwater law failed to be amended. MnDOT attempted to repeal the original bill which read: "Neither the state, nor a unit of metropolitan government, nor a political subdivision of the state may take any action that may diminish the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs."
The compromise language that the House-Senate Transportation Conference Committee voted down would have gutted Rep. Mark Gleason's (DFL-Richfield) bill. Any "temporary construction-phase groundwater pumping" would be permitted. Only actions that "substantially" diminish the natural flow of Coldwater Spring would be prohibited, and only a watershed district or the state DNR could enforce the law. The amendment would have been retroactive to May 16-- the day the law went into effect.
Sen. Julie Sabo (DFL-Mpls) authored the bill in the Senate and was appointed to the 10-member Transportation Conference Committee as a substitute for Sen. Dean Johnson, absent with National Guard duties. Sabo, in her first term and eight months pregnant, worked for weeks on consensus-building language and then worked the committee.
At 3:45 AM Madame Chair Rep. Carol Molnau (R-Chaska) "closed" the Transportation omnibus bill. Rep. Tom Workman (R-Chanhassen) immediately asked to submit some new language for the Coldwater amendment. The bill is closed Molnau said.
The committee adjourned from 4:45 AM this morning to 9 AM so they can finish work on their Public Safety package before an 11 AM roll call in the House and Senate. Threats to the Coldwater legislation are probably over for this session but the committee is not yet "recessed." However the legislature is in fast track mode to tidy up all its business before the dread "state shut down," July 1st.
Gleason and I went outside and discussed the bizarre and mysteriously blessed voyage of the Camp Coldwater Springs law. I say, the land speaks through us.
The law allows two local watershed districts to enforce groundwater rules and agreements with MnDOT. MnDOT fears every little water district or environmental group in Minnesota will go to court to stop a construction project using the Coldwater precedent. The special sacred history of the
Coldwater area has not been recognized by the state road-building department.
Still the Coldwater campaign reflects a new ethic. The rains and floods and expense of bottled drinking water give perspective to living on the blue planet, the water planet, the third planet from the Sun.