Clean water is a top environmental priority for Minnesotans. Currently about 40% of Minnesota’s waters do not meet standards for “fishable and swimmable.”
- Hoffman voted for a package of water quality bonding initiatives to help communities repair and modernize aging wastewater and drinking water systems and help pay for the costs of installing and maintaining water quality buffers along ditches and waterways. (H.F. 3467–2016, 5/5/16)
- He sponsored the Clean Water Accountability Act to ensure the state targets water cleanup work more efficiently and economically,with better accountability. (F. 1183–2013, 5/20/16)
- He supported the Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program, incentivizing landowners to plant perennial cover crops that reduce soil and nutrient loss, prevent agricultural runoff into surrounding waters, and produce biomass for fuel. (F. 2749–2016, 5/22/16)
- He supported the University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative to advance research on the next generation of high-value commodity crops for conservation purposes. (F. 2749–2016, 5/22/16)
- In 2013 and 2015 he supported Clean Water, Land and Legacy appropriations which have greatly increased the resources devoted to intensive monitoring and cleanup of our water toward the goals of swimmable waters, safe fish consumption and healthy aquatic life. (F. 1183–2013, 5/20/16; Special Session S.F. 1–2015, 6/12/16)
Clean Water Accountability Act
To thrive, our communities count on safe, clean water resources. When Minnesota authorized funds for clean water in the 2008 Legacy Amendment, they counted on results. Unfortunately, results have not been as strong as they should be and we need to adjust the plan. Last month, I introduced legislation which is now law that would address water issues unresolved by the federal Clean Water Act to streamline our Legacy Act funds dedicated to cleaning up water pollution. The Clean Water Accountability Act targets two primary problems: 1) cleaning up nonpoint source pollution; and 2) better targeting of Clean Water fund dollars by agencies.
Overall this bill tackles these weaknesses through a few new cleanup plans. First, it requires a precise assessment of pollution sources and needed reductions. Furthermore, it sets deadlines and milestones for assessing progress, requires strategies to put the money where it will have the best result, and creates a plan for effective monitoring. Support for the Clean Water Accountability Act includes multiple environmental groups across Minnesota, such as the Minnesota Environmental Partnership—a statewide coalition of 75 environmental organizations, farm organizations and the state agencies overseeing pollution cleanup.
- In 2014, Hoffman voted in favor of the Pollinator Lethal Insecticide Labeling Bill that defined “pollinator lethal insecticide” and mandated that a plant with a detectable level of such an insecticide cannot be labeled as beneficial to pollinators. (F. 2798 –2014,5/14/14, 60-0)
- In 2016, Hoffman voted in favor of a bill that established the Pollinator Investment Grant Program, which would have provided support for farmers who want to plant using seeds that are free of certain pesticides that are harmful to pollinators. (Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Bill, F. 2749–2016, 4/28/16, 39-24)
While federal policy on toxic chemicals was mostly unchanged for the past forty years, Sen. Hoffman voted to make Minnesota a leader in approving laws to control chemicals in consumer products, especially those harmful to children.
- Hoffman voted for the Toxic Free Kids Act, requiring manufacturer reporting on children’s products containing nine toxic chemicals identified as especially harmful to children. (S.F. 2101–2015, 4/22/15)
- He voted to ban formaldehyde in children’s products such as baby shampoo and bubble bath. (F. 458-2013,5/6/13)
- He voted to ban HBCD, a flame retardant found in upholstered furniture and some children’s products, along with other flame retardants that have been found to cause cancer and pose a particular threat to firefighters. (SF 1215-2015, 5/17/15)
- He voted to ban the sale of infant formula and baby food containers that contain bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that has a high probability of being carcinogenic, an endocrine or hormone disruptor or developmental toxicant, damaging to the nervous system or immune system. (F. 459-2013, 5/10/13)
- He supported legislation to ban the sale of triclosan, an anti-bacterial agent found in many soaps and toothpastes. Triclosan is a known risk to the environment and a potential risk to human health. (F. 2192–2014, 5/13/14)
Cutting Wait time – Regulatory Permits
Many businesses that want to expand and create jobs in Minnesota have expressed frustration with the time it takes government to process environmental permits.
- Hoffman supported creation of a two-tier permitting system that ensures that an estimated 11,000 of the 15,000 annual permits requests the state receives from businesses are completed within 90 days or less, cutting wait times for most businesses by 40%. (H.F. 2543-2014, 5/8/14)
2013 Omnibus Energy Bill
Sen. Hoffman voted to establish a 1.5% solar standard by 2025 for investor-owned utilities such as Excel Energy and Minnesota Power, expected to increase Minnesota’s installed capacity by 32 times over seven years. The bill also set up a new framework for community solar programs. (H.F. 729-2013, 5/16/13)
- Hoffman voted to create solar jobs, diversify Minnesota’s energy sources, keep energy dollars in the state, and provide incentives that support Minnesota solar manufacturers.
Recycling and Waste
Each year Minnesotans create about 5.7 million tons of garbage, with about 30% ending up in a landfill, 21% burned and 46% recycled, beating the national average of about 35%. Senator Hoffman has consistently supported measures to improve Minnesota’s record on recycling, which is not only part of our state’s shared ethics and values, but a large industry that supports close to 30,000 jobs.
- In 2016, Senator Hoffman voted to significantly update and improve Minnesota’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act, ensuring that a great many more old televisions and computers can be recycled. (F. 2841—2016, 5/19/16)
- He voted to boost the level of funding directed to county recycling programs across the state. (F. 3172 – 2014, 5/16/14; H.F. 2749–2016, 5/22/16)