EPA clears air for farmers
THUMBS UP: It's hard to make an omelet without breaking eggs, they say, and it's hard to break the soil without raising some dust. So we're glad the Environmental Protection Agency this week assured farmers it is not planning to expand its air quality standards regarding dust raised by ag operations.
The EPA said it wanted to dispel a myth that it was going to clean up dusty farm operations. We hope that's all it was, a myth. The idea of that kind of regulation would have a chilling effect on an industry that has enough nature-related problems and risks to deal with.
Saying what Vikings won't
THUMBS DOWN: Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has been careful in the past couple of years to avoid saying "...or else!" in talks about a new stadium for the Vikings. The unspoken threat is that without plans for a new stadium, the Vikings may not be here when their Metrodome lease runs out this season.
Leave it to some National Football League suit to say what we all know. On Tuesday. Eric Grubman, the vice president in charge of the NFL's business operations, met with Gov. Mark Dayton and warned afterwards that a stalemate on a stadium would be a problem, that there are alternatives in other cities for the Vikings.
We don't think it is necessary to hammer on that point. We all know the possibilities and outcomes if a stadium deal can't be reached. We have to credit the Vikings for not emphasizing that aspect of the negotiations.
Don't divert legacy funds for stadium
THUMBS DOWN: Some legislators are considering a proposal to tap into the state's Legacy Amendment funds, specifically the arts and culture funds, to pay for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
They should drop that idea immediately.
The state's Legacy Fund amendment, passed by referendum in 2008, levies a three-eighths of a cent sales tax for specific funds - arts and culture, outdoors, parks and clean air. Never, during the months of deliberation in the Legislature and the months of discussion in the public, was the issue of professional sports mentioned as a purpose for the funds.
It is specious to claim the Vikings are part of our "cultural heritage" and therefore qualify for the arts legacy funds. The voting public agreed to this tax to be spent for very specific purposes. We suspect that if paying for professional sports stadiums had been part of the deal, the amendment would have failed.
It is always tempting for legislators to raid other funds for another purpose. They have taken Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes meant for highway projects to balance the state's general fund. They have drained the state's tobacco lawsuit award funds, meant to pay for anti-tobacco activities, to balance the state's budget.
They should not be allowed to dip into funds meant to support the arts to support the Vikings.