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MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT AG RICU LTU RE

December 3, 2012 Representative Steve D razkowski 401 State Office Building 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155 Dear Representative Drazkowski: The Environmental Quality Board recognizes the importance of engaging a wide range of stakeholders in the important discussions about the state’s environment. We organized the Citizens Forums with the goal of attracting participants from all corners of the state and from a wide range of perspectives. That is why we were concerned to read your recent email stating, “As far as I can tell, the efforts by our state government to notify farmers and other business owners throughout the state, about these meetings, has been extremely limited. This may have been by design.” We are not sure what evidence prompted your speculation, but we want to reassure you that the concerns are unfounded. For the last few months, we made a concerted effort to reach out to a wide spectrum of stakeholders—including farmers, chambers of commerce and industry groups (e.g. forestry, mining, energy, and food companies), local governments, environmental and conservation groups, colleges and universities and more—as required by Minnesota Statute 116C.04, Subd. 7. Our outreach started in the summer, with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and other state agencies distributing Citizen Forum flyers at the State Fair. Agency commissioners and staff sent individual e-mail invitations to tens of thousands of Minnesotans and to a wide range of organizations including the Minnesota Farm Bureau, the Minnesota Farmers Union, the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, and state and local chambers of commerce, asking them to spread the word to their members. As Commissioner Frederickson attended farm organization meetings in recent weeks, he personally spread the word and invited members. We also sent press releases to media outlets across the state, and farm organizations, such as the Minnesota State Cattleman’s Association and the Minnesota Milk Producers, which publicized the forums to their members. In addition, we convened two Advisory Groups, which included farmers, farm organizations, and other business and industry groups, along with a wide range of other Minnesotans, to review the draft Environment and Energy Report Card. Many of their suggestions were incorporated into the final document, which was and will be presented at the Citizen Forums.

625 Robert St. N., St. Paul, MN 551 55-2538

651-201-6000 or 1-800-967-2474

www.mda.state.mn.us

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Based on the turnout so far (more than 900 citizens at forums in Rochester, Bloomington, and Duluth), our broad outreach has been effective. We were happy to see representatives of farming organizations at the forums, and by polling the audience we know many participants were from farms. We were glad you joined us at the Rochester forum, as well. Most of all, we are pleased that many participants told us they appreciated the opportunity to talk with state leaders about such important issues. With the next three forums scheduled in greater Minnesota, we want farmers and others to recognize the forums as opportunities to set aside disagreements and have a real conversation about balancing important environmental and economic goals. We need farmers and small business owners to be a part of this discussion, and we are concerned that your recent email may have confused that point among some who received it. For that reason, we ask you to send another message correcting the facts and inviting people to attend the remaining meetings set for December 10 in Worthington, December 12 in St. Cloud, and December 14 in Moorhead. You may also want to refer people to our website (www.mn.gov/environmentalcongress) for more details about times and locations. We appreciate your help in bringing farmers, small business owners and others into this important discussion.

David i. Fredrickson Commissioner Chair, Environmental Quality Board

/ en Anderson Senior Advisor to the Governor on Energy & Environment