Gov. Mark Dayton today defended the state’s second hunting and trapping season that gets underway in November. During an MPR News interview at the Minnesota State Fair, he also questioned the timing of the people who are now objecting to it to the hunt.
The governor also said Minnesota should aim to eventually eliminate of coal-burning power plants in the state.
Wolf advocates recently called on the governor and the Department of Natural Resources to cancel this year’s hunt. They’ve raised concerns about a decline in Minnesota’s wolf population. But Dayton said the DNR is trying to control that population, so that wolves stay away from people and livestock. He said he didn’t hear any complaints when the wolf hunting law passed in 2012.
“I respect those who do have that concern,” Dayton said. “But I don’t know where they were during that session, because it came as a part of a non-controversial amendment to a bill, and I signed it. So now it’s law, and if the people want to change the law, the Legislature is the place to do that. I don’t have the authority. No one in the executive branch has the authority to countermand the law.”
The Humane Society and the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter were among groups that opposed the wolf hunt when the Legislature debated it in 2012.
In response to a question about climate change, Dayton said the state’s strategy should include an eventual elimination of coal-burning power plants as Minnesota needs to move toward less-polluting sources of energy, such as wind and solar. He said the availability and price of natural gas make it possible to set a goal of getting rid of coal as a source of electricity.
“I don’t know what a feasible time frame is.” Dayton said. “But certainly in the next 10 to 20 years, we ought to convert everything that is now coal to natural gas or to wind or to solar, and be in the forefront of creating a cleaner environment.”
Dayton said Minnesota is far ahead on such issues. He described those who do not believe in the threat of climate change as having a “Neanderthal view.”