Insider: March 23, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

Governor Dayton Vetoes Anti-Solar Bill

On Monday night, Governor Dayton followed through on a promise made last month when used his veto pen on a bill that would have weakened the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and punish Minnesota’s solar customers by removing PUC oversight of excessive charges by rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities customers connect their solar panels to the energy grid.

We thank Governor Dayton for his veto to protect Minnesota’s solar customers. The purpose of the PUC is to safeguard the public’s interest while promoting safe, reliable utility services. This bill would have stripped the PUC of its ability to protect Minnesota’s solar customers across much of the state, leaving them at the whim of their local power companies, some of which are charging solar customers massive fees. This bill would have created huge disincentives for Minnesota’s renewable energy customers, especially in rural Minnesota, punishing them for doing the right thing. With his veto, Governor Dayton sends a clear message that all Minnesotans deserve the protection of the PUC.



Register for the 2017 Minnesota Water Action Day 

Join us on Wednesday, April 19th for the 2017 Minnesota Water Action Day! This is a day of public action and advocacy to let lawmakers know we care about our water. This all-day event will include a rally, issue trainings and meetings with your legislators. Come for all or part of the day. There will be trainings in the morning, both on how to actively engage legislators and on the water issues that we face in Minnesota. Throughout the day there will be events and other ways to keep people engaged, and the rally will be held in the Capitol Rotunda at 1:30pm. Register today

Legislators seek to strip agency protections

Minnesota agencies like the MPCA play a crucial role in environmental protection by making water quality rules using established science and public input. But some legislators are backing bills – HF 695 and SF 702 – that would gut rulemaking by hijacking power from agencies. Our clean water standards would be needlessly harmed by administrative judges with no scientific expertise. They also plan to suspend many water quality rules, in violation of the Clean Water Act. Some lawmakers claim this will be a good deal for business, but it’s a bad deal for clean water, and it can only lead to more pollution of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.

TAKE ACTION! Speak up for water protections based on sound science!

TAKE ACTION! These anti-water quality measures in the legislature are against the public interest and put our resources at serious risk of further pollution. Let your legislators know you stand for clean water!


Minnesota cities are going to the bees        

(from Post Bulletin) Don’t worry, “bee” happy. The Austin City Council on Monday unanimously approved a “bee-safe” resolution, which prohibits city employees from using systemic pesticides that are lethal to bees, according to City Administrator Craig Clark. Clark said in a news release that the city council “recognized the importance bees and other pollinators play in our food production by promoting these  best practices.” >>Read more.


84% of Minnesotans support renewable energy funding

(From MPR) — If you live in Minnesota you probably support the idea of renewable energy research. You are also likely to believe that global warming is real, according to The Yale Project on Climate Communication. Data from the newly updated Yale Climate Opinion Maps shows more than 8 of 10 Minnesotans (84%) support funding for renewable energy research. The study shows 71% of Minnesotans “trust climate scientists about global warming.” 

>>Read More.


Road to a crash? Big gap between Republicans, Democrats on transportation funding.

(From Pioneer Press) — The debate over transportation funding — and the hard divide on solutions — is back at the Minnesota Capitol. On Tuesday, the Minnesota House released its plan to fund the state’s roads and bridges. Like the plan the Senate released earlier this week, the proposal redirects current spending to roads. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, as he did before, is proposing increasing the gas tax to pay for transportation needs. >>Read more.

photo: Metropolitan Council


Minn. Republicans want feds to deny $900M in Southwest rail funds

(From MPR) — Minnesota Republicans want President Trump’s transportation secretary to deny Minnesota almost $900 million in requested funding for the Minneapolis-to-Eden Prairie Southwest Corridor light rail project. It would upend a project that has been working through stages of approval for almost a decade. Opponents of what would be the biggest-ever public works project in Minnesota have done everything they could to stop it. >>Read More.


MEP Welcomes New Members!

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership is thrilled to welcome four new member organizations into our  coalition! At this week’s meeting, the Board of Directors elected to extend membership to Honor the Earth, League of Women Voters Duluth, Pollinator Friendly Alliance, and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light. We are thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate with these organizations to work for strong environmental protections in Minnesota.

Upcoming Environmental Events

Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Advancement Officer | Minnesota Environmental Partnership

Big River Farms Food Hub Intern | Minnesota Food Association/Big River Farms

Association Director of Development II | The Nature Conservancy

Wilderness Curriculum Internship | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Membership Internship | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Water Resources & Outreach Internships | Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District

Natural Resources Assistant | City of Burnsville

Manager of Development & Member Engagement | Transit for Livable Communities / St. Paul Smart Trips Senior

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The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy, and protection of our Great Outdoors.


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