ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton wants stronger water quality standards in Minnesota as Republican lawmakers are trying to roll back environmental regulations.

Dayton has made improving the state's water quality a marquee issue for his final term in office. But Republicans who control the Legislature have included measures in budget bills that would weaken the Public Utilities Commission's power to regulate new pipelines, delay the onset of buffer strips to improve water quality and remove money from environmental funds.

Dayton spoke at a rally for Water Action Day at the Capitol on Wednesday. He says several business interests and lobbying groups are pushing to weaken environmental standards.

Environmental groups and advocates have strongly criticized the Republican-led effort. They say several proposed provisions would cripple water quality standards and weaken environmental regulations.