Image: Pineland Sands Aquifer
Location: Callaway, MN
Toxic Taters has been working since early 2015 to protect Hubbard, Becker, Wadena, and Cass counties in MN from an RDO expansion that has been threatening thousands of acres of the pines with conversion into potato fields.
“On November 17, 2015, community members represented by Toxic Taters and allied organizations presented a citizens’ petition to the Environmental Quality Board signed by over 240 Minnesotans, calling on DNR to require an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) to address RDO’s [ expansion in the Pineland Sands Aquifer. By the time DNR denied the petition in February, more than 220 additional individuals had added their support to the petition and many more had contacted Commissioner Landwehr and the Governor to voice their support for environmental review of this project.
[Toxic Taters and local residents do not support the] Pineland Sands Land and Water Study for the following reasons:
First, the study would necessitate clearcutting and likely damaging lands that have not been in potato production in the past.
Second, the study undermines environmental review, a long-standing public process. Rather than following standard MEPA procedures, the study comes out of a memorandum of understanding between a public agency and private corporation. It gives RD Offutt undue influence in designing and carrying out the study that will assist in determining future permitting decisions, in which they have a vested interest.
Finally, we are concerned that the legislature is entering into a long term significant expenditure of public funds – either taxpayer dollars from the general fund, or LCCMR funds intended for conservation projects. This project is not conservation, but an expansion of corporate agribusiness. The current request of $1.5 million is only for phase one of the project. We anticipate that future requests for phase two may be even more costly.”
Toxic Taters’ partner organizations on this project:
- White Earth Land Recovery Project (WELRP)
- Pesticide Action Network (PAN)
- Land Stewardship Project (LSP)