MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop resigns ahead of Senate ouster | KSTP.com

MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop resigns ahead of Senate ouster

Laura Bishop Photo: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Laura Bishop

Tommy Wiita
Updated: July 07, 2021 11:21 AM
Created: July 06, 2021 02:27 PM

Laura Bishop, the commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, has submitted her resignation following an update from Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka stating the Republican-led Senate was planning to not confirm Bishop's appointment. 

According to a release from the governor's office, throughout her tenure as commissioner, Bishop has worked with communities across the state to develop innovative, community-centered approaches that protect Minnesota's waters and foster stronger economic growth; brought together citizens, business community leaders, legislators from across the aisle to pass the nation's first trichloroethylene (TCE) ban, a man-made chemical harmful to health; secured new funding to help develop for recyclable materials, helping to reduce waste and create jobs in the state; and tackled climate change with a focus on science and innovation to protect Minnesota's environment for generations to come. 

"I am extremely disappointed in the Republicans in the Senate, who are choosing to use taxpayer dollars to play partisan games and try to politicize an agency charged with protecting Minnesotans from pollution because they refuse to acknowledge the science of climate change. Commissioner Bishop's qualifications are clear, and her principles are unwavering. I am proud of her decision to stand firm in her beliefs that climate change is real and to not bend her policies and values in order to get through this disingenuous confirmation process," said Gov. Tim Walz. "For all Minnesotans who believe in science, who believe in climate change, this is a loss." 

"It has been an honor to serve Minnesotans in this role. However, I will not allow the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to be politicized. The work is too important," said Bishop. "I look forward to continued work to protect our state's waters, air, land, and climate for future generations of Minnesotans." 

Last year, the Senate also removed two other commissioners during special sessions: Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley and Commissioner of Labor and Industry Nancy Leppink

The governor is accusing the Republican-controlled Senate of playing "partisan games" and trying to "politicize an agency charged with protecting Minnesotans from pollution." On the flip side of things, the Senate is unhappy with clean car standards imposed by the Walz Administration

Effective immediately, MPCA Deputy Commissioner Peter Tester will serve as the temporary commissioner of the agency.

In a video posted on Facebook, Gazelka commented on Bishop, saying, "I want to say there was a number of issues that kept bubbling up, and it was more political than anything so it just felt like we had to address it."

He noted Bishop joining a Michigan lawsuit regarding the taconite industry, her regulations on farm communities, including over manure on fields, and her electric car mandates as some of the GOP's issues with her.

The Minnesota DFL issued the following statement on the news Tuesday:

"Today, Minnesota has lost a dedicated public servant due to the despicable behavior of Senate Republicans. Laura Bishop worked tirelessly as head of the Pollution Control Agency to defend our environment, protect public health, and hold polluters accountable, and I am tremendously grateful for her service to our state.

"Let us be clear about what happened today: Senate Republicans forced the resignation of the Commissioner of our Pollution Control Agency in order to defend big polluters, exact revenge on Governor Walz for his strong leadership during a once-in-a-generation public health crisis, and harm our ability to be responsible stewards of our environment. Senator Paul Gazelka's pathetic temper tantrum just goes to show that Republicans will not let divided government work for the people of Minnesota.

"Paul Gazelka is profoundly misguided if he thinks trying to break our state government will help his run for governor."

Additionally, the Minnesota GOP issued the following statement on the matter:

"Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Laura Bishop's resignation instead of going through a Senate confirmation hearing is telling about her commitment to transparency and the state of Minnesota. 

"Since her appointment, Bishop unilaterally moved to implement a mandate to model Minnesota's emission standards after California by raising the cost of vehicles limiting options for Minnesotans.  

"We applaud Senate Republicans for continuing to work in the best interest of our state to ensure government is always working to put our state's families, businesses and opportunities first."


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