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As others see it: Cleanup veto wrong

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Minnesota's budget shortfall is the result of the national and international "economic collapse" affecting nearly all states' budgets. (Scott Wente/Minn. State Capitol Bureau)

Minnesota's water resources are our most valuable resources and must be protected and preserved for future generations in as pristine a shape as possible. But development over the years has degraded many of our lakes, rivers and streams to some extent, and is why millions of dollars is being set aside today for cleanup efforts.

Anything on a preventive end, to save our lakes and rivers, should be looked upon favorably by government. That's why we find it puzzling that in a bill providing millions of dollars to water cleanup efforts Gov. Tim Pawlenty would line-item veto a $200,000 item that is geared, through mostly volunteer efforts, to keep Minnesota lakes clean.

The governor vetoed grant funding to the fledgling Star Lakes Board, a bill carried by Sen. Mary Olson, DFL-Bemidji, and crafted with the help of mayors, city officials and lake associations throughout "watered" Minnesota.

The governor red-lined the item, saying it was his understanding that the $100,000 appropriated last year was one-time funding for a pilot project and that "if additional funding is needed for this new board, it should come from sources other than constitutionally dedicated dollars."

But that's precisely the right funding source for this program. As Olson has explained, the establishment of the Star Lake Board is permanent, not a one-time pilot project. The grants to be issued to lake associations under the board can be considered pilot projects, until the board gets a better understanding of the problem and solutions of working with volunteers to improve lake quality. ...

Singling out this one program for line-item veto was shortsighted and just plain wrong.

The Pioneer of Bemidji