The Minnesota Department of Agriculture would not have the final say on adopting rules regulating nitrogen fertilizer application under provisions of a bill passed in the House on Monday.

Earlier this year Ag Commissioner Dave Fredrickson proposed plans to require farmers to apply nitrate fertilizer in the spring in the hopes to prevent runoff if it was applied in the fall.

Passing on a vote of 69-56, Representative Clark Johnson (D-North Mankato) says the bill makes the issue political.

“Minnesotan’s want clean drinking water. We all have to have clean drinking water. It’s a fundamental mistake to make that a partisan, political issue. Making that rule making which is effective where people can be heard, science can be honored and make sure we have clean drinking water for everybody.”

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency conducted a study that found more than 70-percent of the state’s nitrate pollution is from cropland sources.

Governor Mark Dayton has promised to veto any legislation reaching his desk that prohibits implementation of the Groundwater Protection Rule or repeals the executive branch’s rulemaking authority.