As an eternal optimist, I’m choosing to reflect on the positive moments from 2020 and look to even brighter days in 2021. The past year highlights the need to look for places of agreement and common ground. And the Conservation Minnesota team is excited for the challenge.
Over the past year, West Metro Regional Manager John Anderson has been working with a group of Minnetonka residents to create a sustainability commission for the city. Thanks to the leadership and hard work of these local residents, the City Council voted in October to establish the commission.
In May, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and Department of Commerce asked Minnesota’s energy companies to create plans that reduce emissions and increase access to conservation and clean energy resources while growing jobs and putting Minnesota’s economy on the rebound.
In June, Xcel Energy responded by proposing projects to create jobs and keep energy bills stable. The projects bring significant system benefits and speed Minnesota’s clean energy transition.
This November, 64% of Rochester voters supported a city referendum to protect water quality, natural areas, and park improvements. Now residents in the City of Health, and those who visit this vibrant community, will benefit from the $2 million in annual investments.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of Governor Walz's pledge to adopt Clean Cars Minnesota, a set of clean card standards that will reduce air pollution from card and trucks on Minnesota roads and increase consumer choices for electric and fuel-efficient vehicles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.