MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Just two weeks after it was abolished by the Minnesota Legislature, an influential environmental citizen’s board held its last meeting on Tuesday.
The end of the Pollution Control Agency Board was marked by protest and anger at PCA headquarters in St. Paul.READ MORE: Elk River Teacher's Discussion On Police Violence And Unrest Angers Some Parents
The board officially shuts down July 1, a day one board member said will be the end of an era.
“It’ll be a sad day for democracy,” said Jim Riddle, a rural member from Winona County. “A sad day for citizen engagement, open government, and environmental protection in Minnesota.”
Some lawmakers criticized how the board met its end. The board was nixed in the middle of the night during the recent special session with no public hearing.READ MORE: 'Unbelievable' Pandemic Furniture Demand Causing Extreme Delivery Delays
“Let’s be clear about what’s going on,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein, (DFL- Minneapolis). “This is a triumph of special interest, polluters over grassroots democracy and the common good.”
The bill was passed by the Republican-dominated Minnesota House, the Democratic Senate, and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
Critics said times have changed since the board was created in 1967.
“We’ve got a lot of environmental laws in place in Minnesota to protect us now, and that’s good,” said Rep. Denny McNamara, the GOP Chairman of the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “When the citizens board was created, we didn’t have the environmental laws in place that we had today. And I don’t think it is absolutely necessary anymore for a board to have authority over a state agency.”MORE NEWS: Unnecessary Roughness? Former Gophers Claim Tough Practices Ended Football Careers
Senators John Marty and Scott Dibble and Rep. Frank Hornstein all attended an opposition gathering before Tuesday’s meeting. They said they are working hard to overturn the Legislature’s decision.