Cole Norgaarden, a 10th grader at the Blake School in Minneapolis, testified Thursday, Jan. 27 at the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee during the hearing of House File 72. The bill proposes to repeal a Minnesota statute that limits carbon dioxide emissions by utilities.
Cole is co-chair of Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA!MN), and delivered the following testimony:
“As a young person, I am in opposition of House File 72, which would lift a ban on carbon dioxide emissions produced by utilities. Lifting this ban is undoing the progress we have made towards achieving energy sustainability in Minnesota.
This is not a mistake we can afford to make with the futures of youth like myself at stake. We refuse to inherit the costs coal imposes on Minnesota’s communities, both environmental and economic, costs we will have to deal with if carbon dioxide emissions go unchecked.
Furthermore, since there is no current need for building new coal-fired facilities in Minnesota, this repeal is backwards and unnecessary.
On a personal level, my grandfather was employed by Northern States Power for over 30 years and worked as an engineer on all three units of the Sherco Plant in Becker, Minnesota. After retiring, my grandfather recognized the importance of establishing renewable energy infrastructure and ending our reliance on fossil fuels. He told me that while plants like Sherco were necessary to meet demand at the time they were built, burning coal was not the future of energy in Minnesota.
Hearing this from the man who was construction superintendent to the largest coal-fired plant in Minnesota only demonstrates how urgent and universal the need is for a transformation in the way we produce electricity.
This problem is not going away, so we cannot let the advances we have made got to waste. Please invest in the future of your children, of your community, and of the state of Minnesota by opposing this repeal.”
Watch a video of Cole and others testifying at the Jan. 27 hearing. Cole’s part starts around 01:16:45.