News Watch: Sept 11

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Air; Climate Change; Conservation; Energy; Invasive Species; Mining; Oil & Pipelines; Outdoor News; Sustainability; Transportation; Water; Wilderness; Wildlife; Loon Commons Blog

Agriculture & Food
MinnPost: Letter from Skunk Hollow: Straw-bale bounty, with zucchini the size of a cat 
NPR: Tax breaks may turn San Francisco’s vacant lots into urban farms (In MPR

Air
MPR: Scientists say the ozone layer is recovering 

Climate Change
MPR: Audubon report finds climate change ‘spells trouble’ for North American birds 
MPR: Teaching young about climate change a delicate task 
New York Times: Climate Change Will Disrupt Half of North America’s Bird Species, Study Says 
Star Tribune: National Audubon Society study: climate change threatens the loon and other Minnesota birds 
The Washington Post: CO2 levels in atmosphere rising at dramatically faster rate, U.N. report warns 

Conservation
Brainerd Dispatch: Conservation movement examined 

Energy
Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota Power to idle four coal-fired electrical generation units 

Invasive Species
Associated Press: Zebra mussel infestation found near channel to Lake Minnetonka (In Star Tribune

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Gogebic Taconite to review mining plans after more wetlands discovered (In WPR
MPR: Copper-nickel mining could move south of the Iron Range 

Oil & Pipelines
Star Tribune: Commentary: Stand up against risky, unwanted pipelines 
Star Tribune: Counterpoint: Pipelines move oil safely and efficiently 

Outdoor News
Pioneer Press: DNR predicts colorful but short-lived fall foliage this year 
Star Tribune: Grand Rapids man picked to head Legacy funding council (In Duluth News Tribune

Sustainability
MN Daily: U forges way as plastics research leader 

Transportation
MPR: Southwest light rail foes file lawsuit 
TC Daily Planet: 2014 St. Paul street repairs – An opportunity for complete streets 
TC Daily Planet: Group files Suit over Southwest LRT 

Water
Associated Press: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to host Clean Water Summit (In Pioneer Press
MPR: Brainerd’s need to boil water puts spotlight on lack of chlorination 
MPR: Water works: Chlorination questions resurface in Brainerd 

Wilderness
Duluth News Tribune: Local view: Environmentalists want more than North can give 
LA Times: National view: Changes are needed to save Wilderness Act – and wilderness (In Duluth News Tribune
MinnPost: Protecting the wilderness of Lake Itasca: Itasca State Park 

Wildlife
Associated Press: Scientists warn of faulty Wisconsin wolf estimates (In MPR
MinnPost: No bird-friendly glass for Vikes stadium 
TC Daily Planet: After population decline, researchers optimistic about monarchs

News Watch: Sept. 8

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Climate Change; Energy; Green Innovation; Invasive Species; Mining; Transportation; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wilderness; Wildlife;

Agriculture & Food
Albert Lea Tribune: Southern Minnesota growers: Early apples are ready 
Associated Press: Pesticide drift is persistent problem for farmers (In MPR
MPR: Apple harvest begins in Minnesota 
Star Tribune: Cornercopia: the little farm with a big mission 
Star Tribune: Fields of Green A Desert for Bees 

Climate Change
Brainerd Dispatch: Opinion: More alarmist climate change reports 

Energy
Brainerd Dispatch: Editorial: Camp Ripley’s solar project 
Star Tribune: Xcel negotiating deals for big solar projects in Minnesota 

Green Innovation
NPR: Cheap drinking water from the sun, aided by a pop of pencil shavings (In MPR

Invasive Species
MPR: DNR tries Zequanox on Christmas Lake’s invasive zebra mussels 
MPR: Invasive spiny water flea spreading throughout the Boundary Waters 

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Taking their message to Washington – by canoe 
MPR: Video: Minnesota to Washington by canoe 

Transportation
Minnesota 2020: VIDEO: Bike Lanes in the Twin Cities 
MinnPost: Community Voices: Transit planning ‘debacles’ and the subway option 
Star Tribune: Editorial: Encouraging steps for light-rail lines 

Waste & Recycling
MPR: Blog: Recycling? But it’s so hard 
Star Tribune: Commentary: Getting to zero waste together in Hennepin County 

Water
MinnPost: Blog: Is it possible to waste water in Minnesota? 
NPR: Damming the Mekong River: Economic boon or environmental mistake? (In MPR
Star Tribune: Minnehaha Creek cleanup clears 3 tons of trash 

Wilderness
MinnPost: Earth Journal: Happy 50th to The Wilderness Act: Excerpts from week’s best coverage 

Wildlife
Duluth News Tribune: Cool, wet spring might have surpressed sage grouse numbers 
Inforum: Letter: Wildlife amendment is a win-win for ND 
NPR: US Pacific blue whales seen rebounding close to historic levels (In MPR
Politics in Minnesota: Rift festers on Outdoor Heritage Council

MEP and members urge Clean Water Council to include funding for Forever Green Initiative

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St. Paul, Minn. (Sept. 4, 2014) – The Minnesota Environmental Partnership, along with several member organizations, submitted a letter to the Clean Water Council Budget and Outcomes Committee urging them to include funding of at least $1 million a year for the Forever Green Initiative.

The Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota provides for research to accelerate development of economically viable perennial and cover crop options that enhance farm prosperity, water quality and habitat. In the letter, MEP and its members encourage ongoing funding for the Forever Green Initiative.

According to the letter:

“[T]he Minnesota Pollution Control Agency report “Nitrogen in Minnesota Surface Waters” found high amounts of nitrates in much of Minnesota’s waters with 73% of nitrates coming from cropland. The report concludes that the  development of more cover crops and perennial crops is critical  to cleaning up our water. The Forever Green Initiative was established to address just this issue. Its focus is on the research  and outreach to develop and improve cover crops and perennial  crops that are profitable for farmers to grow and necessary to improve water quality.

“What has been missing is a commitment of ongoing funding to enable work that needs to take place over several growing seasons. For the Clean Water Council to include this funding in their final recommendations would be an important step in achieving this. We feel that $1 million a year is a modest sum in light of the dramatic potential for positive change in water quality this effort could yield over the long term.”

The organizations that signed onto the letter include:

 

Minnesotans back an increase in Renewable Energy Standard, says new poll

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For immediate release: September 4, 2014

Media Contacts: Christine Durand, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, 651-789-0654, christine@mepartnership.org

St. Paul, Minn. (Sept. 4, 2014) – A new poll shows that Minnesotans are paying attention to candidates’ views on renewable energy this fall, and they are looking for candidates that will improve the economy in Minnesota by creating clean energy jobs and training Minnesota workers to fill them.

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) released the Minnesota-specific results today from a region-wide poll conducted by the RE-AMP network this summer. According to the poll, 72% of Minnesota voters are more likely to vote for candidates who want to promote clean, renewable energy like wind and solar in Minnesota.

“Minnesota voters are looking for bold leaders,” said MEP Executive Director Steve Morse, “They want to elect candidates this November who champion policies that keep Minnesota on a track as a leader in clean energy, create family-supporting jobs, and give us healthier air that will reduce asthma and lung disease and ultimately save lives.”

The survey of 421 Minnesotans was conducted July 26-August 3 by a bipartisan team — Public Opinion Strategies, which conducts polling for Republican candidates, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, which specializes in polling for Democratic candidates and includes a 4.9% margin of sampling error.

Minnesotans broadly agree that the time has come for increasing our Renewable Energy Standard. In fact, seven in ten Minnesota voters back a standard requiring that Minnesota get 50% of its electricity from renewables, a plan called for by the Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs Campaign, of which MEP is a member.

The study found that:

  • Nearly every demographic unanimously supports increasing energy efficiencies.
  • 93% of voters support increasing solar energy generation.
  • 85% of voters support increasing wind energy generation.
  • 7 in 10 voters in Minnesota say that renewable energy like wind and solar power is a reliable, affordable option that is an increasing source of good jobs.
  • 67% Minnesotans would rather reduce our need for fossil fuels by increasing energy efficiency, expanding our use of renewable energies; while just 25% would rather dig and drill for more oil, natural gas and coal in the U.S.

Although clean, renewable energy is proving to be the cheapest and most reliable form of new energy generation, Minnesotans would be overwhelmingly willing to pay more to transition to renewable energy. According to the poll, 81% of Minnesotans are willing to pay at least $1 extra on their monthly bill to promote clean energy and energy efficiency. “This demonstrates Minnesotans commitment to achieving a clean energy future,” said Morse. “But experience shows we can make the transition without additional costs to consumers.”

Download the full Minnesota Clean Energy Polling Results.

###

Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a coalition of more than 70 environmental, conservation, and civic organizations working together for clean water, clean energy and protection of our Great Outdoors. MEP engages state leaders, unites environmental efforts and helps citizens take action for the Minnesota they love. www.mepartnership.org

News Watch: Sept 4

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Clean Power Plan; Climate Change; Energy & Electricity; Invasive Species; Mining; Oil & Pipelines; Transportation; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wilderness; Wildlife

Agriculture & Food
 
Clean Power Plan
 
Climate Change
 
Energy & Electricity
 
Invasive Species
International Falls Journal: MnDOT fighting invasive plants with spraying 
 
Mining
 
Oil & Pipelines
 
Transportation
 
Waste & Recycling
 
Water
 
Wilderness
 
Wildlife

 

News Watch: Sept 2

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Climate Change; Energy; Fish & Wildlife; Invasive Species; Natural Disasters; Oil & Pipelines; Transportation; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wilderness; Loon Commons Blog

Agriculture & Food
Associated Press: Wisconsin apple growers say crop looking good (In Pioneer Press
Duluth News Tribune: Locally Laid eggs popular at Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth 
Inforum: Bad rap on food prices 

Climate Change
Brainerd Dispatch: An environmental experiment 
MinnPost: Community Voices: Taking steps to curb climate change would have big impact on public health 
NPR: There’s a big leak in America’s water tower (In MPR

Energy
Midwest Energy News: For Minnesota churches, clean energy is a higher calling 
Midwest Energy News: Survey finds customers support solar as utilities push back 
Red Wing Republican Eagle: Tribe ‘disappointed’ in waste storage rule 

Fish & Wildlife
Associated Press: Wolf vs. dog warning issued in Cook County (In MPR
MPR: DNR to address declining walleye population in New Brighton tonight 
MPR: Snakes in the grass: A key to Minnesota’s vanishing prairie 

Invasive Species
MPR: DNR: Check for invasive species as summer wraps up 

Natural Disasters
NPR: Volcanoes in Iceland, Papua New Guinea keep residents on edge (In MPR

Oil & Pipelines
Associated Press: Halliburton reaches $1.1B oil spill settlement (In Pioneer Press
MPR: Enbridge wins Minnesota OK for oil pipeline 

Transportation
MinnPost: Minneapolis City Council approves Southwest LRT 
MinnPost: Minneapolis has OK’d Southwest LRT. So what happens now? 
Politics in Minnesota: Big wheels line up in transportation push 
Red Wing Republican Eagle: Letter: Zip Rail, with Cannon Falls would be beneficial 

Waste & Recycling
Pioneer Press: St. Paul presses ahead with plans for bids on recycling 

Water
Associated Press: West Virginia whitewater industry official blames chemical spill in part for drop in bookings (In Star Tribune
Inforum: Rep. Cramer claims EPA is keeping secret maps 
MPR: St. Louis River cleanup ‘jump started’ 

Wilderness
Duluth News Tribune: For many, wilderness is about wonder, renewal 
Duluth News Tribune: Local view: Keep Wilderness Act’s flame burning brightly 
Star Tribune: Commentary: Keeping the wilderness untrammeled 
Star Tribune: Star of the North: Late-summer trek to BWCA is family tradition 

  

Midwest voters support increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy sources

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For immediate release: August 28, 2014

Media Contacts:
Christine Durand, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, 651-789-0654, christine@mepartnership.org

St. Paul, Minn. (August 28, 2014) – Seven out of ten Midwesterners say that renewable energy like wind and solar power is a reliable, affordable option that is an increasing source of good jobs, according to a new region-wide public opinion survey released this week by a collaboration of environmental and conservation organizations within the RE-AMP network.  According to the poll results, eight out of ten people surveyed believe that renewable energy will allow us to be more self-reliant and make our energy supply more secure. 

The survey of 2, 477 Midwesterners in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin was conducted this summer by a bipartisan team — Public Opinion Strategies, which conducts polling for Republican candidates, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, which specializes in polling for Democratic candidates.

The study found that voters in the Midwest, across political party, gender, age, and income categories,  broadly agree that energy efficiencies, along with increasing solar and wind sources of energy are necessary to meet our future energy needs:

  • 95% support increasing energy efficiency.
  • 91% support increasing the use solar energy.
  • 87% support increasing the use of wind energy.

Voters overwhelmingly said that we should move toward cleaner sources of energy (4 out of 5), while just 29% said that we should focus on drilling and digging for more oil, natural gas, and goal, in the U.S. to meet America’s future energy needs. When asked if they would be willing to pay a little extra on their energy bills to promote clean energy and energy efficiency, more than 80% said they would be willing to pay at least $1 per month.

 
The study found that voters will be looking for candidates this fall who want to improve the economy by creating middle-income jobs in the clean energy and clean technology industries and training workers to fill those jobs.

Download the full report

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation nonprofits in the state and is a member of the RE-AMP network. RE-AMP is an active network of 160 nonprofits and foundations across eight Midwestern states working on climate change and energy policy.

 

In Historical Move, MPCA Orders EIS on Proposed Factory Farm

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By Paul Sobocinski, Land Stewardship Project

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizens’ Board ruled this week that Riverview LLP’s proposed 8,850-cow dairy operation in Stevens County must undergo an in-depth Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). To my knowledge, this is the first time that the MPCA has ordered an EIS of a factory farm.

This is a good decision. An EIS will allow the proposal’s negative impacts on water quality and quantity, local roads and existing independent family dairy farms to be fully analyzed before the project is allowed to seek a permit.

The proposed operation in Baker Township would house 8,850 cows and 500 heifers, making it among the largest operations of its kind in the state. Riverview LLP is already the largest dairy-producing firm in Minnesota, owning several other massive operations throughout this state, as well as South Dakota. In total, Riverview LLP owns over 45,000 cows, according to a 2013 article in Beef Magazine.

Fortunately, the MPCA Citizens’ Board took a careful look at concerns raised by neighbors and voted 6-1 for an EIS on Aug. 26. Water quantity and quality were chief among neighbors’ concerns. Many streams in the Pomme de Terre watershed, where the factory farm is proposed, are already polluted.

Another concern was that the cumulative impacts of already existing large feedlots, especially Riverview LLP-owned operations, needs to be assessed, including the impacts on water availability. Riverview LLP has four large operations in Stevens County, each over 5,000 cows. One has over 6,000 cows and is within six miles of the proposed operation. If approved, the Baker Township dairy alone would use almost 100 million gallons of water annually.

Neighbors to the proposed dairy are very concerned about hydrogen sulfide and its effects on their health. Hydrogen sulfide is a gas given off by liquid manure lagoons. Exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide over time can cause respiratory problems, headaches, eye irritation, insomnia, nausea and dizziness. If exposure is chronic, it can impact neurological functioning and cause more serious lung problems.

Hydrogen sulfide modeling for the proposed Riverview LLP operation indicates that the levels of hydrogen sulfide produced will be near the public health threshold. An MPCA Citizens’ Board member raised concerns that, if the Riverview LLP operation is approved, on-going monitoring for hydrogen sulfide must be required, and that this health concern should not be simply addressed through computer modeling.

Just as importantly, an EIS of the Riverview proposal will address socio-economic impacts. For example, many moderately-sized and beginning farmers in the area are concerned that the Riverview LLP operations push land prices to unaffordable levels. As a hog and beef farmer myself, I know that livestock operations on diversified family farms are essential to stewardship of the land and rural economic prosperity.

Factory farms like Riverview’s, however, displace family farms and generate many millions of gallons of raw liquid manure which is a waste product that is inevitably over-applied on neighboring fields. The MPCA Citizens’ Board decision was the right one for family farmers, the land and rural Minnesota.

Land Stewardship Project organizer Paul Sobocinski raises crops and livestock in southwestern Minnesota’s Redwood County. He can be reached at 507-342-2323 or sobopaul@redred.com.

Taking steps to curb climate change would have a big impact on public health

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Ozone over earth

CC/Flickr/NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Too often, health impacts are left out of the conversation on climate change. That is unfortunate, because climate change threatens our ability to protect Minnesotans against the dangers of air pollution and increased allergens and asthma triggers linked to warmer summers, extreme weather and smoke from wildfires. This is especially true of the most vulnerable Minnesotans — the young, the elderly and those living with lung disease.

Power plants are the largest stationary source of greenhouse gases in the United States, and are a major source of air pollution in Minnesota. Placing carbon limits on existing power plants will not only reduce greenhouse gases, it will also reduce the amount of particulate pollution these plants emit. The negative health impacts of particulate pollution are well documented and include exacerbating lung diseases and causing cancer or premature death.

We know that temperature is a factor in ozone pollution, one of the major types of air pollution the American Lung Association has been fighting against for years. Our 2014 State of the Air report showed that warmer temperatures increased ozone pollution in large areas across the United States, including communities in Minnesota.

Extreme weather’s impacts

Climate change is associated not only with warmer summers, but extreme weather changes in many forms. Subtle changes in temperatures around the globe can mean drought and wildfires in one region, floods or blizzards in another. All of these extremes have negative effects on lung health, either because of the direct hazards of breathing particulate or ozone pollution, or the indirect health problems many Minnesotans would face due to increased levels of pollen, dust and mold extreme weather can cause.

Climate change is a serious public health issue. Unless it is addressed soon, more Minnesotans will be exposed to conditions that can result in illness and death due to respiratory problems, heat- and weather-related stress and disease carried by insects. These health issues are likely to have the greatest impact on our most vulnerable communities, including children, older adults, those with serious health conditions and the most economically disadvantaged.

As a nation, we have a very important choice to make. Placing first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants is a vital step to prevent the worst effects of climate change. The Clean Power Plan proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would not only reduce carbon pollution by 30 percent, it would reduce ozone and particulate pollution 25 percent by 2030 as it is implemented. That would result in an estimated reduction of 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 fewer asthma attacks in children each year.

Act now, as we did 40 years ago

Forty years ago, we faced a similar choice as we confronted growing air pollution in our most populated area. We responded by passing the Clean Air Act, and by creating a strong federal agency to enforce the nation’s new clean air laws. They have been a tremendous success, making our air cleaner and healthier without hampering our economy or our ability to produce goods and services.

As a health charity dedicated to the mission of protecting the air and improving lung health, we know our nation must act against climate change immediately. To protect the health of Minnesotans, please join with us in fighting for air.

Robert Moffitt is the communication director for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. This post originally appeared in MinnPost.

The Environmental Benefits of Cycling for Minnesota

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Bicycling more and driving less offers numerous advantages, both for the individual as well as the community. As a transportation alternative, bicycling benefits public health and safety, reduces transportation costs and fuel consumption, decreases traffic congestion, boosts the local consumer economy, and reduces environmental impacts, among other things. While we certainly believe the economic, individual and public health, and quality of life benefits are important, this post focuses on some of the important and perhaps surprising ways in which cycling affects the environmental impact of our overall transportation system.

One oft-touted perk of cycling is a “zero-emissions” form of transportation. This of course is over-simplified – and slightly overstated – but it is true that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result from riding a bike are far less than other forms of transportation. The European Cycling Federation (ECF) recently published a study comparing the emissions from different forms of transportation and was able to quantify the emission of carbon dioxide (the most abundant GHG) resulting from the production, operation, and maintenance for bicycles, cars, and buses (1). They calculated that riding a bicycle contributes about 21g of emissions per kilometer traveled. Of that amount, 16g is attributable to the “fuel” – the food energy consumed by the rider. Since food is quite literally a cyclist’s fuel, their already-minimal emissions could be reduced much further by consuming a diet featuring local and sustainable menu choices. It should also be noted here that the emissions for electric-assist bikes was calculated to be an almost-identical 22g/km. The emissions for a bus at average occupancy was found to be about 101g/km per passenger, or approximately 5x the emissions of riding a bike. The emissions for automobiles was calculated conservatively taking into account average number of passengers, size and efficiency of the vehicle, and type of driving. In this study, they reported an average for European drivers of 271g/km, or 13x more greenhouse gas pollution per distance traveled compared to a bike. Since the actual distances traveled are on average much greater for motorized transit, the relative benefit of cycling is even greater. Increasing cycling in our transportation mix and thereby reducing usage of motorized vehicles will reduce the overall emissions from our transportation systems.

Group in green shirts that read "I'm Greener than this shirt

Biking is a near-zero-emissions transportation option. Photo credit: Norco Bikes via Flikr.

The ECF analysis only considered the GHG emissions, particularly carbon dioxide; these are considered harmful emissions due to their potential to influence climate change. As many people now realize, global climate change is recognized as a significant environmental challenge and has been linked to many serious public health and safety issues (including rising sea level, increased severe weather events and intensity, water scarcity, loss of agricultural productivity, species loss, air pollution, ocean acidification, and more). Motorized transportation is also associated with particulates and other forms of air pollution which are considered harmful to the environment and human health but were not considered in the above study. The more than communities can support transitioning to less-polluting transportation, the easier and less costly it will be to mitigate against the future impacts of these harmful emissions. As a transportation alternative, cycling certainly offers significant reductions in GHG emissions compared to motorized vehicles.

The ECF analysis also did not attempt to quantify the impact resulting from the infrastructure of each modality, but this is certainly another distinct difference between active- and motorized-transit. In another recent study done by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, they found that the cost of building protected bikeways was more than 100x less expensive per mile than roadways (2). The total distance of bikeways also tends to be smaller, and the associated maintenance is less frequent, so again the relative benefits are even greater than the figured cited. Beyond the costs, there are significant differences in the environmental impacts resulting from the infrastructure of different transit systems.

In addition to the costs of building and maintaining motor vehicle infrastructure, another significant impact is the physical space that is occupied by the infrastructure. A typical cloverleaf intersection, for example, occupies 10-20 acres of space. More and larger roadways increases the distance between destinations, and is a major contributor to urban sprawl and habitat loss for wildlife. More cars also require more spaces for parking, especially with many city ordinances requiring businesses to provide abundant parking even if it rarely is fully occupied. The ECF study estimated that parking spaces alone might increase the total impact of automotive transit by 10% — an additional 27g/km, and more than the total impact of using a bicycle. In many US cities, automotive infrastructure accounts for 33-50% of the total area of a city. This is an astounding figure, and yet many people simply accept this reality as an inevitability of modern society. By decreasing the use and dependence on cars, bicycles allow higher-density more efficient urban development which reduces costs and impacts.

A hyper-abundance of motor vehicle infrastructure and the associated urban sprawl is negatively correlated with measures of community walkability and quality of life. The further apart places are located and the more roadways between those places, the more challenging and dangerous it becomes for pedestrians and cyclists to travel within their communities. The impermeable surfaces which nearly always comprise this infrastructure are further associated with more detrimental environmental impacts, including increased stormwater runoff, water scarcity, and the urban “heat island” effect. Because the automotive infrastructure is impermeable to surface precipitation, it creates runoff which must be managed rather than allowed to absorb into the ground or natural systems and can lead to erosion, flooding, and pollution of surface waters from oil and debris found on and along roadways. As the surface runoff is carried away into larger bodies of water, it isn’t allowed to absorb into the ground where it would eventually seep into the underground aquifers that many communities depend on for drinking water, agriculture, and industrial uses; in this way roads also contribute to water scarcity. And because the infrastructure absorbs solar radiation during the day and re-radiates it into the atmosphere, it increases local temperatures in an effect known as the “urban heat island”. It is estimated that this effect might account for as much as 10 degrees (F) of heating in urban environments on sunny days. All of these negative impacts can be reduced by increasing the share of safe and convenient active-transportation choices in our overall transportation system.

Clearly active transportation offers some significant advantages compared to motorized options, including major reductions in environmental impacts. Increasing cycling and walking as viable transportation alternatives is therefore an important priority.

CJ Lindor is an Education Specialist with the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota envisions a state where cycling is a safe, easy, fun, and cool choice for everyone and where bicycling is truly integrated as part of the transportation system. To that end we advocate for bicycling and educate both children and adults throughout the state with the goal of more people bicycling more often.

If you want to learn more about and support these efforts, please visit www.BikeMN.org

(1) http://www.ecf.com/wp-content/uploads/ECF_BROCHURE_EN_planche.pdf
(2) http://www.sfbike.org/news/biking-by-the-numbers/