MEP releases 2024 policy priorities

Posted by .

Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership

This week, MEP is proud to announce our 2024 Collaborative Priorities – a list of ideas to protect and invest in Minnesota’s people and natural resources this year.

Most of these priorities, which were developed through cooperation with MEP’s member organizations, are goals for action by the State Legislature. We hope to build on last year’s historic session, which featured historic victories on climate action, clean water protections, environmental justice, and much more. That session may be a tough act to follow, but we’re confident that Legislators still have plenty of appetite for positive change.

Key areas

Our coalition has determined that three overarching priorities should guide our advocacy efforts: fighting for a healthy climate, supporting people and planet-centered public institutions, and advancing environmental justice.

Climate change is the biggest challenge Minnesota faces. As our unseasonably warm winter and recent drought have shown, we’re not immune from the effects of this crisis, and it cuts through all other environmental and social justice issues: water, wildlife, farming, housing, and more. MEP will continue pushing for decarbonization of transportation, electricity, agriculture, buildings, and more at the speed and scale we need to help secure a just and equitable transition to a clean energy future.

Our efforts will only succeed if our public institutions serve the way they were intended to: putting people and the environment first, rather than treating industry as their primary clients. On issues ranging from the Line 3 pipeline to sulfide mines, we’ve seen public agencies captured by undue influence from polluters, resulting in permits for projects that harm Minnesota’s future. MEP will fight for changes and deliver accountability to these institutions to restore the public trust and protect our environment.

These environmental harms don’t fall evenly on Minnesotans: they disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities, who are often excluded from the environmental decisions that affect their future. MEP supports various policies to help protect the right to clean air, water, and land and ensure that the voices of those most affected by environmental harm are front and center in major decisions.

Investing in our future

As we wrote in last week’s column, this session is traditionally a “bonding year” in which the Legislature aims to pass a bill issuing bonds and spending cash on infrastructure priorities. MEP is asking Legislators to prioritize clean water and climate action in this important bill. We’re encouraged by many of the bonding proposals Governor Walz has put forward, but we hope to see an even greater focus on environmental issues.

Policies to protect our future

After the many policy wins in 2023, our policy ideas for 2024 is a list of unfinished business. We’ll be engaged with state agencies to make sure policies that passed last year – such as the air pollution-focused Cumulative Impacts law, the 100% Clean Energy law, or Amara’s Law restricting toxic forever chemicals – are effectively rolled out without watering down.

We also hope to move forward on some policy ideas that have been planned for years and may get their chance at passage this session, including these examples:

  • Requiring a “consumer demand” forecast for fossil fuel infrastructure. This policy would help close a loophole that allowed for the approval of the Line 3 oil pipeline by requiring industries to prove that their polluting projects are needed by consumers, not just the companies backing them. Minnesota consumers did not need Line 3 amid falling demand for petroleum, nor do we need new fossil fuel-powered infrastructure. 
  • Requiring producers to pay for the lifecycle of their packaging. Waste from the packaging of products ends up in incinerators, landfills, and scattered around our lands and waters. This policy would help reduce that waste by making producers pay for the lifecycle processing and cleanup of this waste, incentivizing them to use less packaging and make the remaining packaging more recyclable or compostable.
  • Prohibit non-ag uses of neonicotinoid pesticides. “Neonics” are a harmful class of pesticides that are a huge factor in the alarming decline of bees and other wildlife. In the long run, we need a solution to their use in agriculture, but the Legislature should act now to prohibit their use in areas like landscaping.
  • Enact protections from sulfide mining. The water resources of Northern Minnesota are vast but vulnerable, and opening sulfide ore mines like Twin Metals or PolyMet would put them in harms’ way. MEP supports policies like “Prove it First” and the Boundary Waters Protection bill that would keep this type of mining – never done before in Minnesota – out of our ecosystems.

What we expect

We can’t say for certain that all these policies will make it through the Legislature this session, but we’re confident that we can continue building public support for their passage. Survey after survey shows that Minnesotans want our air, water, and land protected. We want to maintain our rainy summers and snowy winters, our fishable lakes and our lush forests. We want our communities to be healthy and our kids to have a bright future.

Throughout this session, we’ll be counting on Minnesotans to make their voices heard on these and other good policies. We face big challenges, but with the right resources and political will, we can meet them head on.

For previous columns, visit If you would like to reblog or republish this column, you may do so for free – simply contact the author at

Comments are closed.