Statewide Solar Energy Standard Will Bring Jobs, Significant Investment to State
[SAINT PAUL, MN] Governor Dayton signed the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development bill, which included measures to establish a solar energy standard of 1.5 percent by 2020 for investor-owned utilities, with a statewide goal of reaching 10 percent by 2030. The Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs campaign released the following statement:
Sometimes laboratory science and the reality of what’s happening on the ground intersect in a graphic way. That’s what struck me this morning as I was watching a video shot by Minnesota beekeeper Steve Ellis on May 7.
Ellis has documented the die-off of bees on the very day that neighboring fields were planted with corn. As the camera pans the landscape and shows bees dead or so disoriented that they can’t even forage, Ellis talks about the fact that corn seeds coated with a type of pesticide called neonicotinoid is to blame. Such claims are not new, but a recent Purdue University study has made it clear we can no longer ignore the relationship between our pollinator crisis and pesticide use in farm country.
Today’s Topics: Agriculture and Food; Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment; Climate Change; Conservation; Education; Energy; Fish and Wildlife; Fracking and Frac Sand Mining; Great Lakes; Invasive Species; Mining; Saint Croix River Bridge; Transportation; Water
The 2013 Minnesota Legislature took important steps forward to protect Minnesota’s future by passing clean energy and clean water legislation, but the state’s largest environmental coalition said there also were disappointments in transit funding and other issues.
Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), the statewide coalition of more than 75 organizations working for clean water, clean energy and protection of Minnesota’s Great Outdoors, praised the 2013 Minnesota Legislature for creating a new solar energy standard, and for passing legislation to address water pollution from agricultural run-off and other “nonpoint” sources.
Today’s Topics: Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment; Climate Change; Energy; Fish and Wildlife; Fracking and Frac Sand Mining; Invasive Species; Legislature and Administration; Recycling and Waste Reduction; Transportation
It is nearly the end of the 2013 legislative session, and time for an update on MEP’s collaborative legislative priorities: Clean Water Accountability, Transit for a Stronger Economy, and Clean Energy Jobs bills.
- The Clean Water Legacy Accountability Act language is contained in the Legacy bills which, with the Senate’s passage last night of Senator Cohen’s Legacy bill, now have passed off the floor of both chambers. Next step for CWLA is conference committee.
The Clean Water Legacy Accountability Act is crafted to address certain gaps in Minnesota’s water pollution tracking and cleanup laws, and specifically to nonpoint pollution. Nonpoint pollution – largely runoff from large agricultural operations – is the single largest source of water pollution in Minnesota today, and is responsible for six out of seven (86%) of water quality impairments to Minnesota waters. To review the CWLA language in the Senate Legacy Finance bill go to lines 58.1-61.10 of the bill.
- Transit for a Stronger Economy – The Transportation Finance bill is in conference committee today, with the conference report possibly to be finished by midnight tonight. When the conference committee concludes its work by adopting a Transportation Finance conference report, that report will be taken up for an up-or-down vote in both the House and Senate and, if it passes both, will then go to Governor Dayton for signature.
The conference committee today is attempting to bridge the gap between the House bill, which is a lights-on bill that does not provide increased funds for county roads and bridges, or for transit system completion, and the Senate bill, which includes several sources of additional funding needed to complete a modern 21st century transit system in the metro area and improve greater Minnesota transit service. For more detail, see the Senate Transportation Finance bill, Article 2.
- Clean Energy & Jobs – The Energy conference committee finished its work on Tuesday with the adoption of conference report that includes a solar energy standard of 1.5% by 2020 for investor-owned utilities, but no boost to the (primarily wind) Renewable Energy Standard. Later Tuesday night, the energy conference report’s exact language was offered as an amendment in the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development conference committee. The amendment was adopted and the Energy conference report now is contained in the Jobs conference report. The Jobs conference report passed the House late last Wednesday night. The next step is an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, which is likely to come today. You can find the Energy conference report here.