Gov. Mark Dayton still needs to make some key appointments to his cabinet -- one of which is the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.
Former DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam led the department during former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's first term. Merriam said it's a divisive position in state government because it's responsible for protecting dueling interests -- such as clean water and mining.
"The Department of Natural Resources is charged with the responsibility to protect and manage our resources ... it's also charged with responsibilities to develop mining," Merriam said. "That's a statutory responsibility to promote mining in Minnesota."
Similarly, Merriam said the DNR protects forests, but also promotes their recreational use. He said many interest groups pay close attention to DNR activities and want a say in the agency's responsibilities.