- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A plan with stricter rules for buffer zones between crops and public waterways is on its way to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Dayton pegged buffer strips as one of his top priorities this year in order to improve water quality. Lawmakers reached a compromise to address the governor’s concerns early Monday, requiring tighter implementation timelines and levy fines up to $500 for offenders.

Farmers would generally be required to install 50-foot foot buffers along public lakes and rivers, with smaller strips along ditches.

The Legislature passed that measure in a budget bill Monday. But it’s unclear if the governor will sign it.

Some lawmakers say the buffer compromise doesn’t go far enough. Several Democrats also objected to other changes like abolishing a citizen review board at the state’s pollution control agency.

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