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Invasive carp on Capitol's environmental agenda

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm •  Published: January 13, 2013

Wolf hunting opponents hope the publicity and protests over the recent season will create an opening for them. But they're still looking for someone to sponsor a bill to prevent another hunt, said Howard Goldman, state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

Dill, however, called the inaugural season a "great success."

The chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, John Marty, of Roseville, said he expects a "huge discussion" on moose hunting. Minnesota's moose population is less than half what it was in 2006, and the DNR plans a high-tech study to get a better handle on why.

Dill, who owns a moose hunting lodge in Canada, said he's certain hunting isn't the reason, echoing wildlife managers who suspect climate change, diseases and parasites instead.

Environmentalists will campaign for Minnesota to get 10 percent of its energy from solar by 2030, said Margaret Levin, state director for the Sierra Club. She said they're hopeful, and it's not just because of the new leadership. She said the issue crosses partisan lines because Minnesota's solar energy industry is growing.

As plans move forward for copper-nickel-precious metals mining in northeastern Minnesota, environmentalists hope to find a more sympathetic reception for their concerns about the potential impacts on the Boundary Waters and elsewhere.

Gov. Mark Dayton has said he expects frac sand mining in southeastern Minnesota will be "huge" this session. Minnesota has so far left regulation of it largely up to local governments, which "fractivists" say are ill-equipped to deal with the traffic, safety and health impacts.

One reason for the uncertainty over how these issues will develop is the influx of new legislators. Marty said about half his members are freshmen and they haven't had much chance to discuss an agenda. But he said the deficit doesn't preclude tackling other difficult issues.

"Fundamentally, we have enough time in the next five months to deal with the budget and a lot of policy things," Marty said.