News & Insights
Lebanon Hills
Saint Paul Capitol
by Nels Paulsen, Policy Director

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Minnesota legislature adjourned from their second special session. It is likely that the governor will call a third special session in August to maintain his peacetime emergency powers. Conservation Minnesota will continue to be there for each special session. Getting your conservation priorities across the finish line is still our top concern.

by Paul Austin, Executive Director

At Conservation Minnesota, we protect the places you love, and while that usually means advocating on the state level, sometimes it means working on federal issues too. Ensuring the full funding of the Land & Water Conservation Fund is one of those examples. Over the last year, we’ve asked our members to contact their Congressional delegates in support of this funding.

The Great American Outdoors Act would ensure that the Land & Water Conservation Fund receives its full allotment of dedicated funding—permanently.

Sophia sits on the shore of Lake Superior
Sophia enjoying the outdoors at Split Rock State Park, July 2020
by Sophia Hoiseth, Summer Intern 2020

I learned about the internship at Conservation Minnesota in a pre-coronavirus Minnesota. I was even able to go into the office for a meeting in February. Right before I left the Conservation Minnesota office, staff mentioned that maybe it would not be possible for the internship to work out if the pandemic became a big problem.

Well, it became a big problem.

man runs with dog in sunshine

Local community action matters. This year’s legislative ban on Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a perfect example. Early in 2019, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) discovered that for many years a manufacturer in White Bear Township released TCE into the air at unsafe levels. Community members were outraged and began to organize, working to ban the chemical through legislative action. 

Kids and adults cross a stream
by Paul Austin, Executive Director

Like many across our city and state, at Conservation Minnesota we are grieving the killing of George Floyd. This was a tragic example of how racism wreaks havoc on our shared humanity. We stand with those calling for justice, accountability, and change.

Two workers walk near wind turbine

Earlier this spring, Great River Energy—which provides electricity to 28 rural electric co-ops in Minnesota—announced they would close their only remaining coal plant several years early. The energy will be replaced mostly with new wind farms, including four in Minnesota. The closure will reduce Great River’s carbon emissions by 95% over their 2005 benchmarks.

Gardener hoes raised bed of vegetables
by Keely Cervantes, Regional Manager - East Metro

Many Minnesotans are reconnecting with our local food systems during the pandemic and have begun growing gardens again. As a former farmer, I’m sharing with you one of my favorite things about our four seasons: growing food! 

by Paul Austin, Executive Director

Like many across our city and state, we are grieving the killing of George Floyd. As an organization that envisions a world with clean air, clean water, public lands, and a safe climate that are protected by all of us for generations to come, we also believe that each of us are only as safe as those members of our community who are most at risk.

Saint Paul Capitol with daffodils blooming in foreground
Saint Paul Capitol in spring
by Nels Paulsen, Policy Director

Great News! Today, the Minnesota Senate voted to ban the use of toxic trichloroethylene (TCE) in our state. For over a year, Conservation Minnesota has been working with citizens, legislators, agency representatives, and other environmental organizations to phase out the use of this dangerous chemical in Minnesota. 

Hand holding LED light bulb
by Nels Paulsen, Policy Director

After several weeks focused exclusively on COVID-19 legislation and policies to keep legislators and legislative staff safe during the pandemic, the state legislature is starting to begin work on some of their pre-pandemic priorities. A bipartisan energy efficiency bill known as ECO or the Energy Conservation & Optimization Act of 2020 (SF 4409 / HF 4502) is one of these priorities.

Today both the house and the senate energy committees will be hearing this clean energy bill and we’re hopeful both committees will vote in favor of the bill and move it to the floor.

Below is the letter I sent the Chair Osmek and the Senate Energy & Utilities Finance & Policy Committee on behalf of Conservation Minnesota and our members.