ROSEAU, Minn.—Yesterday morning, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced a 30-day delay on the decision about whether or not it will issue an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Roseau Lake Rehabilitation Project. The project has generated controversy for its effects on the productive farmland owned by over fifty families who’ve farmed the land for generations. This project would make their land unfarmable.
An EIS is issued for projects that DNR determines have the potential for “significant environmental effects.” The Roseau Landowners Coalition, which formed to stop the project, wants DNR to require an EIS to determine the full environmental impact of this misguided project.
The Roseau Landowners Coalition has worked alongside the Institute for Justice (IJ), a national nonprofit dedicated to stopping government abuse of property rights.
“The people who have lived and farmed this land for generations know it better than anyone. They know what the consequences of the project would be, and an EIS is a necessary first step in making sure that the DNR understands what’s at risk,” said Melanie Benit, IJ’s activism manager.
The announcement from DNR comes on the heels of a massive public awareness campaign at the Roseau County Fair about the project. There, more than 200 fairgoers wrote to DNR calling on them to halt the project.
The given justification for the project has constantly changed—between a wetland habitat for specialty ducks, an attempt at flood reduction for areas outside Roseau, and a project for recreational activities. But for whatever reason the state uses to move the project forward, it would mean one thing for Roseau landowners: they would lose the farmland that they worked so hard to own and would no longer be able to pass it down to their children.
“We have been here for generations. This misguided project has no real public benefit to justify the huge cost to us farmers,” said Terry Kveen, whose family has farmed their land in Roseau since his great-grandparents came to Minnesota in a covered wagon well over one hundred years ago. “This project will not result in meaningful flood reduction or foster a new wildlife habitat. It will simply destroy our very productive farmland and our family legacy.”
To get updates on this project, please like the coalition’s Facebook page or go to their website at https://roseaulandgrab.com/.