During Tuesday's Minnesota House Environmental and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee hearing of HF616 and HF617, which would require the Minnesota legislature to set water quality standards and add a layer of independent peer review, Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center) did a little grandstanding about bureaucrats and science.
It's not particularly worth noting, since as Rep. Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) said, the substance of the performance was merely the same old tired cliches.
Rather, everybody's favorite folksy STEM mentor, Rep. John Persell (DFL-Bemidji) captured the smiles of the Goddess of Offended Outrage.
Was it his marvelous backwoods accent? The water treatment map he deftly waved in the air? Bluestem believes it's the unique blend on content and diction that only Persell brings to the table. A biologist by training, Persell worked for years as the water quality specialist and environmental policy analyst for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.
See if you don't agree that when this guy talks about water quality standards, we ought to listen:
Thank you Mr. Chair. I just wanted to say it: Representative Cornish, you kinda stole my thunder a little bit. You're offended, and I'm offended too, but not for the same reason.
The MPCA doesn't bother me, although we don't get along on everything.
But I'm offended. You look at this map and most of the sewer treatment plants in Minnesota did the right thing. We did the right thing in Bemidji 30 years ago. Thirty years ago! And instituted phosphorus reductions so we could save Lake Bemidji, Big Wolf Lake, Andrusia, Cass, Winnibigoshish, on down the Mississippi River, through all of them, so we could send you all down here cleaner water.
Cleaner water! And now a few sewer treatment plants, a few cities want to say, oh no, not me, we don't want to do this.
Well bull hockey. That ain't right! That ain't fair! That ain't the we do things in Minnesota!
I just want to say I support what you're trying to do MPCA, and let's do the right thing here and support standards the way they're supposed to be developed.
Here's the clip:
As Representative Carly Melin said during a hearing on the Women's Economic Security Act (WESA) after Persell told the men on the committee to put on their big boy pants and support equal working conditions for women, "How do you follow that?"
The video of the full hearing can be watched here.
Photo: John Persell speaks in the March 3 hearing.
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