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Letter: Fish, farmers and taxpayers put on notice

To the editor:

News that Minnesota lakes are warming is not good news to fishermen, whose activities provide about $2.3 billion of income to the state every year. The National Wildlife Federation reported that climate change is warming our lakes, rivers and streams, destroying fish habitat for cisco, an important food source for fish. Shorter winters and thinner ice cover have multiple effects on fish habitat.

We’re used to bad news about the warming Minnesota climate, so we were not surprised when we heard that the drought is back and has dashed the hopes of farmers who wished that the current dry-wet-dry pattern would end up just right. Just take a drive out in the country and see the yellowed corn down to St. Cloud and south toward Benson. The USDA Drought Monitor says that more than half of Minnesota is in drought. Meteorologist Paul Huttner says we’re starting to see trends where the first half of the year is wet and the second half is dry. Meteorologist Mark Seeley declared at a seminar here that climate change is here and we have to take steps to live with it.

We’ve been pummeled with hail, wind and crop losses. Naturally, the insurance industry is watching all this, risk analysis calculator in hand, and rates are going up again. Meanwhile, Congressman Collin Peterson grows weary trying to get a more progressive farm bill passed by a dysfunctional Congress.

As annual losses mount to billions nationwide, will Americans realize in time that energy industry disinformation campaigns have created confusion about the threat of climate change? Will we act in time to forestall catastrophic climate disruption or continue to pay the growing price of inaction? Will we support sensible public policies like a national tax on the polluters and a farm bill that rewards sustainable farming?

Jeanne Johnson

Alexandria, MN