Good legislators do a lot more than fix high-profile budget problems or work to keep the Vikings from leaving town. The best of them, like Sen. Dan Skogen, help the people in their districts push back new and costly rules that don't make sense.
County environmental staff went to St. Paul during the legislative session to tell legislators the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) included provisions in new Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS) rules over their strenuous objections, and that they needed immediate relief.
This flawed process resulted in additional mandates that counties were required to adopt and enforce this construction season. These mandates would have caused county staff to take on unnecessary and costly administrative and record keeping responsibilities, increased SSTS construction costs, and turn helpful environmental officers into septic cops required to send nasty grams to citizens who fail to provide evidence their septic system was inspected or pumped every three years. Installers estimated the increased SSTS construction cost to comply with the new rules to be about $1,000 per septic system.
Sen. Skogen worked with counties and key legislators to change State law to require MPCA to work more closely with the counties, and provide additional time to address these unresolved issues.
Help like this from our legislators seldom make the headlines -- but it does make a difference.
Fritz Sobanja, chairman
Minnesota Rural Counties Caucus
Cook County commissioner