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Many Pack Meeting to Share Environmental Concerns

Posted at: 11/27/2012 5:08 PM
Updated at: 11/27/2012 6:36 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- They are a series of meetings to help identify ways we can protect the environment. In its first meeting in Rochester, the Environmental Quality Board heard from hundreds who packed the Wood Lake Meeting Center.

"This is the first of a series of listening sessions that the Dayton administration is holding to hear what people are thinking about the state of our environment and what the priorities are going forward," said Tom Landwehr, the DNR Commissioner.

A surprising amount of people showed up to express their concerns.

"I'm really impressed at the number of people here. I've been to EQB meetings in st paul, and they wouldn't get but half of this attendance," said participant Thom Boncher.

First, the board asked a series of multiple choice questions. The audience answered the questions using clickers, and the data popped up on the screens instantaneously. 

"It gives us a chance to hear what people are thinking, what people think are the priorities, what are the concerns," said Landwehr.

Next, there were breakout sessions. Two of the main concerns brought up by citizens were Frac Sand Mining, and wind energy.

"I think we don't know enough about what we're doing when we get into frac sand mining," said Broncher.

"I cant find even one upside to wind, but the mandate that the state of minnesota passed under Tim Pawlenty in 2007 mandates wind. That is the cornerstone of our renewable energy policy, and it doesn't work," said Kristi Rosenquist.

All of the comments and concerns will be taken to the Environmental Congress in March, to see where the state needs to make changes.

"This opportunity to go right to people and hear what their concerns are, really is the greatest form of democracy," said Landwehr.

There will be a total of six of these meetings across the state. The second one takes place Tuesday in Bloomington. There will also be meetings in St. Cloud, Worthington, Duluth, and Moorhead.