Water supply advisory group gets House OK to keep working


The House passed a bill 78-53 Thursday to extend the sunset date for the Metropolitan Area Water Supply Advisory Committee.

HF834, sponsored by Rep. Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood), would allow the advisory committee that was supposed to end last December to continue its mission until December 2016. The bill now moves to the Senate where Sen. Bev Scalze (DFL-Little Canada) is the sponsor.

Keith Buttleman, assistant general manager at Metropolitan Council of Environmental Services, told a House committee earlier this year that the advisory committee, which includes local government representatives along with agriculture, natural resources and other officials, has been very helpful in water supply planning.

“We’d like to have the advantage of this advisory committee to work with us,” he said.

Republicans expressed concern that the committee, which is typically reimbursed for mileage, continued to meet after its sunset date.

“When we sunset, it’s done, it’s over,” Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) said.

But with growing water supply concerns impacting the state, Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) argued that an advisory committee advising water supply planning is important.