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BWSR Pulls Buffer Penalty Proposal

BWSR Pulls Buffer Penalty Proposal




Date: April 10, 2018
To: Minnesota Ag Partners
Fr: John Jaschke, Executive Director
Re: Public Notice – Draft Buffers APO

On April 2001 the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) published a public notice seeking
comments on a draft potential additional option, known as an Administrative Penalty Order
(APO), for local governments to use in achieving Buffer Law compliance.

BWSR has received significant feedback from your organizations and others expressing
concerns related to the draft provisions In the April 2oo1 announcement.

The Buffer law was set up to support farmers reaching compliance and to avoid penalt.ies. For
Instance, if found out of compliance, a landowner has eleven months 10 Implement a buffer or
alternatlve practice. We are not aware of any APOs that have been Issued to-date. Further, all
non-compliance penalties may be forgiven when a landowner brings their land into compliance
even after an APO has been issued. 11 is to the cnedlt of farmers and local governments that
Minnesota Is now at 98 percent compliance for buffers on public waters and on track for
compliance with public ditches this November.

The intent of this proposed additional APO was to give local governments more options.
Hearing your concerns and the concerns of farmers, I now realize that the draft APO we put out
for public comment Is not In the spirit of the law. We acted with haste and did not consult with
the relevant stakeholders. When we put this in front of our Board, we did not highlight the
potential concerns or give full conslderatlon to the potential Impacts to farmers. We also did
not consult with or Inform the Governor of our proposal.

We believe that the existing options are fully sufficient goin3 forward. Based on the response
we have received from your organization and others, we realize that the proposed approach
was a mistake. We are sorry for the concerns we raised with your members and Minnesota

The BWSR Board Committee is scheduled to meet this Thursday. Given the public response we
expect the proposal t.o be rejected and not considered further.

Please feel free to contact me anytlme at:
ph: 651-296-0878, cell: 612-202-3815, email:

Source: Board of Water And Soil Resources