Video details DNR’s MLFAC betrayal

August 29, 2017
Mille Lacs Fishery Advisory Committee (MLFAC) member Steve Johnson yesterday released a video discussing the DNR’s betrayal of its own “Advisory” Committee. The betrayal stems from the DNR’s secretly negotiating an agreement with the Mille Lacs and Fond du Lac Bands and GLIFWC. Johnson’s videos follow MLFAC Co-Chair Dean Hanson’s letter to DNR Commissioner Landwehr sent last week.

“No one from the DNR ever mentioned [Consensus: Mille Lacs Fishery Harvest Plan, 2017-2020] to MLFAC either before or after its signing,” according to Johnson. It clearly left MLFAC members feeling betrayed.

Steve Johnson found it “disturbing” that the DNR would meet with tribal leaders, and never let on for months. “Not one single word or hint was given to MLFAC members, even though the dispute resolution topic was brought up at almost every meeting.” Johnson said it was “nasty” and “completely uncalled for.”

The DNR squandered its relationship and the trust MLFAC members and DNR leadership had painstakingly worked out over the past year. Loss of trust brings an obvious question: Was this really the first time? Given clues from the past, MLFAC may wonder how close the DNR’s clandestine negotiation is to the norm.

After being exposed, the DNR is claiming the secret agreement is actually a “public document.” That is a real stretch, given the heavy-handed warning (all initial caps in original) making up the agreement’s first page headline:

“This Document is Subject to the Attorney-Client Privilege and Protected from Disclosure. The Department of Natural Resources May Waive the Privilege, But No Waiver Should Occur Without the Express Written Permission of the Governor, Commissioner and/or the Deputy Commissioner. A copy of this Memorandum Should Be Distributed Only to Employees Whose Input is Necessary to Resolve the Issues identified in This Memorandum. Copies of This Memorandum Should Not be Included in any Files Which May be Requested by Private Parties.”

Almost as disturbing is the media’s near total blackout on reporting the incident. The lack of transparency, and lack of any calls for transparency, only covers the DNR’s backside and leaves Minnesotans out in the cold.

Feelings of helplessness and “this will never end” can by offset a bit by sharing these videos. And, by sending an email to Governor Dayton (HERE) as well as to your legislators (HERE).

Whether your Representative and Senator is Democrat, Republican, or Independent, now is the time to ask them for a priority investigation by the Office of the Legislative Auditor, and Legislative Committees looking back at all DNR-Tribal/GLIFWC meetings since Court ordered negotiations began.

Steve John today released a second video covering 20 years of history of “how we got here” regarding the “co-management” debacle at Mille Lacs.

Video #1 Behind MLFAC’s Back
Video #2 Some historical info on Mille Lacs lake co-management

Please Like and Share Steve’s videos when viewing them!

Douglas J. Meyenburg, President PERM