Governor Worries Trump ‘Unpredictability’ Will Impact Environment

Minnesota can keep its environment clean, but the President Donald Trump’s administration could make the job difficult, Gov. Mark Dayton says.

“Everybody has to deal with the unpredictability of President Trump’s decisions,” Dayton told reporters Wednesday, July 19, after he talked to Scott Pruitt, administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The Democratic governor said he and Pruitt discussed a variety of issues, including the Republican administration’s desire to roll back environmental protections.

“We are very confident of our ability to uphold the highest standards for Minnesota and as a model for the nation…” Dayton said. “We don’t believe we should be micromanaged.”

Trump’s federal budget plan would make cuts to several EPA programs, including cleaning up Great Lakes pollution. Republican House proposals, meanwhile, make smaller cuts.

Pruitt told the Star Tribune of MInneapolis that he supports continued Great Lakes cleanup, even with the Trump budget plan zeroing it out.

“I understand the investment that’s been made historically,” Pruitt said. “It’s a continuing need and we have to see that it’s adequately funded.”

Dayton said he did not press Pruitt on issues where he may disagree with Trump, such as Great Lakes cleanup money.

Pruitt told WCCO-TV that as more than two dozen environmental regulations have been rolled back, “I think the focus has been to try to find the precious balance between protecting jobs and protecting our environment.”

The administrator promised a new definition early next year of what water can be controlled by the federal government. The Obama administration’s Waters of the United States rules drew criticism because Republicans, in particular, said the regulation could allow Washington to regulate water puddles.

“You didn’t know where EPA jurisdiction began or ended,” Pruitt said.