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Minnesota shoreland rules need expediting

If elected leaders and state officials can't do anything else for taxpayers, they should at least move public hearings and public discussion along at a reasonable pace to serve democracy in a timely manner.

So far, it appears the Department of Natural Resources and the governor's office have not done a very good job at that with regard to the controversial new shoreland development regulations that haven't been updated in 21 years.

The Minnesota Legislature had directed the DNR to have draft rules ready by February 2009. The DNR completed the task about a year later. Another proposal was to be completed in January of this year, and since October 2009 has apparently been sitting in Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office.

The DNR says these things take time, and they're complicated and they're waiting for Pawlenty's approval. We're wondering when the governor's going to "get 'er done." ...

The new rules are significant for addressing growing environmental concerns about lakeshore development in Minnesota. Old rules allow for mammoth docks that affect aquatic life, and there are inadequate requirements for development runoff from driveways and septic systems. ...

Some officials say the delays are by design, and aimed at killing efforts to restrict development.

Apparently Pawlenty's office now says they are in the "final stages of the review process" and will be forwarding their recommendations to the DNR. But with 11 or 12 months of further public meetings needed, this process has just been below the efficiency standards Minnesotans should expect. -- The Free Press of Mankato