February 14 StarTribune editorial: “A needed look at “pines-to-potatoes”

The StarTribune editorial board outlined the concerns raised by R. D. Offutt’s conversion of pineland forests to potato production areas and praised DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr for calling a halt to conversion and requiring an environmental assessment work sheet. The StarTribune Board called Landwehr’s action “farsighted” and, in my words, brave, since, in the StarTribune Board’s words “(w)ith the Republican House’s focus on lightening businesses’ regulatory burden, decisions like Landwehr’s likely aren’t going to be politically popular.”

The Board voiced its disappointment that other state commissioners, notably Health and Agriculture, had not “more publicly” backed Landwehr. Agriculture and Health have strong interests in–and responsibilities for–groundwater, our drinking water reserve.