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Jesse Ventura: The Environment
By Laura McCallum
September 11, 1998
Click for audio RealAudio 2.0 14.4
Part of Election '98

WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT, HIS RESPONSE is classic Jesse Ventura, typical of the candidate who prides himself on not being a career politician.

Ventura: I'm a member of the Isaac Walton League. I love the environment and I certainly think that we should do whatever we can to preserve it.
But Ventura couches his enthusiasm for environmental protection with a caveat.
Ventura: You always have to remember, to the best of my knowledge right now, we are at the top of the food chain. So until something comes along and puts us second, you have to accept that. We're the top of the food chain, which means we're going to use resources to survive!
Most of Ventura's DFL opponents - who've served in state government - vow to revamp the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Ventura says he hasn't studied the issue. But as an advocate of trimming the size and scope of government, Ventura thinks the state could scrap the MPCA.
Ventura: Pollution is a thing I think should be handled at the federal level, because a river runs through many states. You'd need, of course, a strong federal pollution control agency and then maybe eliminate these state control agencies, because the feds should handle that anyway. that's one things the feds should do, because air pollution blows all over.
When it comes to one of Minnesota's most controversial environmental issues - regulating large-scale animal feedlots - Ventura supports halting their expansion, as long as it's temporary.
Ventura: Moratoriums are dangerous, though. You don't want to get in the habit of doing that, I think, on a lot of things. It's an easy way out, you know. I think in the feedlot case, nobody has a clue right now what to do with them. Well, you better stop allowing more of them until you figure out what you do with the ones you got, and how you're gonna contend with the pollution problem on it.
Ventura's other environmental concern stems from personal experience - he has a 32-acre farm in Maple Grove where his wife raises hay and show horses. He blames city assessing departments for urban sprawl in communities like Maple Grove.
Ventura: They force small farms like me to develop because when you're only so many acres, you can only get so much income. Well, when they tax you and continue to raise your property value with no cap - totally out of control - eventually you're forced to develop. And when you develop, what does that create? urban sprawl!
Ventura says if he's governor, he'd destroy the state's property tax system, putting city assessors out of business.