By Matt Doll – Minnesota Environmental Partnership
On Tuesday, hundreds of Minnesotans gathered at the State Capitol to send lawmakers a message: for Minnesota to do our part for climate action, we must ramp up our efforts to reach 100% clean energy. Organized by the 100% Campaign, this coalition of Minnesotans from many backgrounds, faiths, and communities came together for a lobby day in the recognition that Minnesota can and must take the lead on cleaning up carbon emissions. Fortunately, legislation introduced that same day in coordination with the lobby day would help our state do exactly that.
Representative Jamie Long of Minneapolis and Senator Nick Frentz of Mankato have introduced a bill (HF700 in the House and SF850 in the Senate) that would rapidly accelerate the greening of energy in Minnesota. The bill would require all utilities to provide 100 percent clean electricity by the year 2050. It would also revise the definition of energy sources considered clean, noting that waste-to-energy incineration facilities are not environmentally neutral, but can have detrimental effects on the communities around them – often low-income communities or communities of color.
The Minnesota Environmental Partnership and many of our partners wholeheartedly support this legislation, and sent a letter to the House Climate and Energy committee expressing our enthusiasm. While some skeptics have said that Minnesota has only a small part to play in climate change efforts, we know that our state has often been a leader on bold new policies, like the original first-in-the-nation Renewable Energy Standard passed by a bipartisan coalition in 2007. Combined with efforts to decarbonize transportation and other sectors, moving to 100% clean electricity is Minnesota’s time to lead on climate action and show the nation and the world what we can do.