Good Afternoon. I am pleased to speak today about John Borchert's contribution to the vitality of the region and the state, because he helped lay the foundation for my daily work in 2 ways:
First, as my advisor Dr. Borchert helped me develop a program that serves me well even 12 years later; and
Second, as one of the 1st members of the citizens Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, where I currently work in a mangerial capacity.
I am here today as a representative of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - the MPCA.
When the MPCA was formed in 1967, John Borchert was appointed by the governor to the MPCA citizens board for a 4 year term. This was prior to the first earth day and the formation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and at a time when citizens had not yet awakened to the importance of environmental protection in preserving the state's vitality. The shift from apathy about the environment to active interest by citizens began during this time that John served on the MPCA Board. The MPCA was to not only address the water issues of the previous Water Pollution Control Commission, but also was directed to address environmental concerns in the air and on the land. Bob Tuveson, who served on MPCA's Board with Dr. Borchert reflected on this shift several years ago,
"The sensitivity or awareness of Minnesotans to the environment increased rapidly in the first years of the Agency's existence. When I was on the Water Pollution Control Commission, for example, we had an application from Reserve Mining to increase the deposition of tailings into Lake Superior by a considerable amount. No one seemed to be interested in it. At the same time, we had an application from Northern States Power for a nuclear energy plant, and no one showed up. Then, when the MPCA had hearings on those issues, hundreds of people attended. Feelings ran high. During the first few years, we lived in a goldfish bowl because of all the interest in what we were doing."
Now I will share with you just a few of the milestones that occurred during Dr Borchert's term on the the MPCA board to further underscore the importance of his work in laying the foundation for today's MPCA:
This first Citizen's Board launched an MPCA that has addressed hundreds, if not thousands of controversial and environmentally significant issues. In addition, Dr. Borchert and others' early work has resulted in significant improvement in the quality of Minnesota' air, land and water.
I found one person still working at the MPCA who remember's John Borchert's participation on the board in this way,
"I remember him as a Board member who listened to all sides of an issue and asked good questions before making any decision on how he would vote on any issue."
Today... I join our Commissioner Karen Studders and my colleagues at the MPCA in thanking Jane and the entire Borchert family for supporting John's service in this important capacity. Minnesotans enjoy cleaner lakes, forests, prairies, farmlands and cities in part because of Dr. Borchert's early committment and work in environmental protection.