Swedzinski says proposed buffer fines are ‘ridiculous’

Gov. Mark Dayton’s appointees at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources have introduced a proposal result in thousands of dollars in fines annually for farmers who are even a few feet out of compliance across their entire property.

The Administrative Penalty Order BWSR issued last week would fine farmers out of compliance with Minnesota’s riparian buffer law by up to $500 per linear foot. Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, has been an ardent opponent of new buffer regulations and said he strongly opposes the proposed fine structure.

“This is obviously the wish list of the governor and his administration and Democrats across the state and it needs to be put to a quick end,” Swedzinski said.

“Farmers across the state are the best stewards of the land, who have kept land in their families for hundreds of years.

This is just ridiculous and we’re fighting hard against it. We need to create an incentive-based program that incentivizes farmers, not fines farmers for non-compliance.”

The comment period lasts until 4:30 p.m. April 16 and can be submitted by email to buffers.bwsr@state.mn.us, or by U.S. Mail at the following address: Tom Gile Buffers and Soil Loss Operations Supervisor Board of Soil and Water Resources 3555 9th Street NW, Suite 350 Rochester, MN 55901

The House Agriculture Policy Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed penalties 10:15 a.m. Thursday in Room 5 of the State Office Building in St. Paul (100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155).

Rep. Chris Swedzinski

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