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Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Rep. Phillips and Dem House colleagues stand up for clean water

MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Rep. Dean Phillips
There’s a reason that Minnesota is called the Land of 10,000 Lakes: Our waterways form an unmistakable part of our Minnesotan identity. For generations, Minnesota’s waters and natural resources have provided us clean water to drink, unpolluted air to breathe, and beautiful landscapes that we enjoy with our families and friends. But now these resources are under attack in Washington.

Last week President Donald Trump tried to greenwash his record by claiming that he wants America to have “the cleanest water.” In reality, his administration has launched a relentless assault on Minnesota’s waters, outdoors and communities. Seeking to boost the profits of corporate polluters, Trump and his industry-friendly cronies have gutted crucial protections for our natural resources.

Thankfully, Minnesota and our elected representatives are not standing idly by. Just last month Reps. Dean Phillips, Angie Craig, Betty McCollum and Ilhan Omar stood up against Trump’s reckless agenda by supporting strong funding for programs that strengthen our outdoors and communities. The budget passed by the House of Representatives protects our clean water, and seeks to ensure that communities across Minnesota can enjoy safe drinking water, vibrant lands and wildlife, and beautiful waterways in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Newly elected Rep. Phillips has been a strong champion in this fight and understands how important and unique Minnetsota’s waters and public lands are. In 2018, he ran for Congress on a platform that prioritized clean water and conservation by protecting the Boundary Waters and stopping the rollback of Clean Water Act protections. Minnesotans wholeheartedly support these priorities, and with this vote, Phillips demonstrated that he is truly an advocate for the Minnesotans who elected him on this platform.


Minnesota’s waters and public lands are under an unprecedented assault by the Trump administration. Its budget proposal shows that it is doing the bidding of corporate polluters by undermining clean water protections, cutting EPA funding, and zeroing out conservation funding. Their dirty budget proposed a $2 billion cut to the Department of the Interior and a staggering $2.8 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency – or 31 percent of EPA’s budget. These cuts would devastate the EPA’s ability to stop water pollution, keep Minnesota’s lakes clean, protect groundwater, and help utilities provide clean drinking water.

Deanna White
Champions in the House of Representatives are fighting against Trump’s efforts to gut clean water protections. The House funding bill provides $7.2 billion more in funding for Interior and Environment programs than Trump’s request. It also ensures that our cherished waterways and resources are conserved by rejecting Trump’s harmful request to zero out the popular and effective Land and Water Conservation Fund.

As Minnesotans and our elected representatives continue to fight for clean water protections in our federal budget, we must also ensure that bedrock laws like the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act are also fully implemented and protected.

Now that the House has taken a strong stand for our clean water, it is up to the Senate to pass its own version. Senators can either fulfill Trump’s dirty budget and slash funding for some of the most effective programs or they can listen to the people and fight for strong protections.

Phillips is a champion for families in our state, and Minnesotans are counting on him to continue fighting for our waters and lands and ensure his colleagues join him. Minnesotans have never, and will never, put corporate interests ahead of our drinking water or public lands — it is simply not who we are. We must continue fighting and electing representatives who believe that our state’s waters, natural resources, and public lands are priceless.

Deanna White is the Minnesota state director of Clean Water Action.

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