Interview Abstract - Robert Dunn

PROJECT TITLE: Minnesota Foundational Environmental Laws Oral History Project



INTERVIEWER NAME: Stephanie Hemphill

DATE and LOCATION OF INTERVIEW: Mr. Dunn’s home in Princeton, Minnesota

LENGTH OF INTERVIEW (hrs): 50 min.

Republican, served 4 terms in House, 2 in Senate. Sponsored environmental policy bill (MEPA) in 1971; it passed House but didn’t receive hearing in Senate. Held dozens of meetings during interim, with William Walton from UM. In 1972 Democrats took over legislature; they allowed Dunn to carry his policy bill in spite of being in the minority. Main controversy was over makeup of EQC: Dunn wanted citizen board; governor and MN Assn. of Commerce & Industry (MACI) wanted only agency heads. In 1990 Gov. Arne Carlson asked him to be first citizen chair of EQB; he agreed on condition he would operate close to governor. Didn’t happen, and Dunn quit. EQB chronically underfunded. Disenchanted with Republican party, retired from Senate. Chaired Waste Management Board, a thankless job. Bemoans lack of understanding that government must be involved in solving complex problems including climate change.