Minnesota Campaigns

Cleaning Up Minnesota’s Corporate Agriculture

Agriculture has played an important role in Minnesota’s history and will undoubtedly be a critical part of Minnesota’s future – Minnesota is perennially in the top five states for food production in the country. Unfortunately, there are environmental problems associated with Minnesota’s role in providing food and fiber for the world.

The long term goal of Clean Water Action Minnesota’s Cleaning Up Corporate Agriculture Campaign is to create the political will and public demand to embrace and enact policy, market, and industry solutions that will significantly reduce industrial agriculture water pollution and help ensure clean lakes, rivers, and safe and affordable drinking water sources across the state.

Clean Water Action Minnesota will work for three major changes to the status quo:

  1. Change the Landscape: To transition to more native perennials, less row crops and fertilizers and pesticides
  2. Change the Market: To incentivize and create markets like the Forever Green Program and Working Lands Drinking Water Protection Program and clean up supply chains for meat in our stores.
  3. Change the Laws: To better protect our water and significantly reduce nutrient pollution in our water.

Putting Drinking Water First in Minnesota

Putting Drinking Water First: Clean Water Action believes that everyone has a right to safe and affordable drinking water. We are making drinking water impacts a primary consideration when developing regulations and other programs involving upstream activities that can impact downstream drinking water sources.

  • Water Infrastructure Investments: Dangerously outdated infrastructure remains a huge threat to our lakes, rivers, streams and drinking water quality. From combined sewer overflows to old lead service lines, our water infrastructure needs to be updated to protect water resources for future generations.
  • Tracking Contaminants of Emerging Concern:  People and industry use tens of thousands of chemicals. A vast array of these chemicals has been found in the environment, where we consider them contaminants of emerging concern or CECs. Most of these CECs have not been fully evaluated for the risks they might pose to the environment— or to our health.
  • Reducing Lead Exposure- Lead is a highly poisonous metal and can affect almost every organ in the body and the nervous system. The wide spread contamination of drinking water in Flint, MI, has also raised many concerns about lead in our drinking water and in public places such as schools. We are working to enact policies that will reduce our exposure to lead and make Minnesota Lead Free.
  • Reducing Salt in our Water: In winter, salt is applied to roads and walkways to melt ice and snow — this is where most of the chloride in our water comes from. The salt dissolves, runs into storm drains, and most storm drains go directly into local waterways.
  • Protecting Groundwater: Nearly 75% of Minnesotans get their drinking water from groundwater sources. To protect groundwater the legislature passed the Groundwater Protection Act in 1989.
Baby washing hair

Safer Chemicals for Minnesota

Did you know the shampoo, cleaner, or laundry detergent you wash down the drain may be harming your health and the health of our water? Find out how these chemicals are making their way from our products into our bodies and water, discover simple steps you can take to protect your health from toxic chemicals, and see what we're doing to fight for safer chemicals.

historic map of the Great Lakes

Protecting and Restoring the Great Lakes

Protecting our Great Lakes: The Great Lakes are a national treasure.  They contain 20% of the earth’s fresh surface water and are the drinking water source for more than 40 million people. As a leading member of the Healing Our Waters coalition, we are working to protect the Great Lakes we love and clean them up for future generations to enjoy.

  • Strengthen the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Since its passage in 2010, the GLRI has provided more than $2 billion to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress toward achieving long term goals.
  • Water Infrastructure Investments: Dangerously outdated infrastructure remains a huge threat to our lakes. From combined sewer overflows to old lead service lines, our water infrastructure needs to be updated to protect water resources for future generations.
  • Prevent Invasive Species: The Great Lakes have been severely damaged by more than 180 invasive and non-native plant and animal species. We are strategically focused on reducing the risk of introduction of new aquatic invasive species.
  • Agriculture affects on the Great Lakes Basin: One of the greatest threats to the quality and health of Great Lakes and its tributaries is excess chemicals, fertilizers, and sediment from irresponsible agricultural practices. This pollution fuels harmful algal outbreaks across the Great Lakes region, which is a significant threat to the region’s drinking water, quality of life, and economic well-being.
  • Great Lake Compact and Water Diversions: The Great Lakes Compact is one of the most significant public water policy achievements in the world. Clean Water Action was instrumental in helping to ratify the Compact in Minnesota, the Great Lakes region, and in Congress.  Unfortunately there aren’t enough formal public input opportunities in the decision-making process when it comes to large water diversions from the lakes. Everyone should have an opportunity to let decision makers know whether or not our water stays in the lakes.