Last fall, Fresh Energy and the Will Steger Foundation hosted eight large public forums across Minnesota focused on clean energy, climate, and health. The forums, hosted by schools and faith-based communities in towns including Brainerd, St. Cloud, and Rochester, emphasized Minnesota’s clean energy path and next steps in cutting dependence on fossil fuels and creating Minnesota jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Each event drew crowds of between 200 and 400 community members, including Minnesotans from 84 percent of the state’s Senate districts.
In January, Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton met in person with Governor Mark Dayton to deliver postcards signed by thousands of forum attendees. Their messages urged the governor to address climate change and advance our clean energy economy by ensuring Minnesota achieves its carbon reduction goal of at least 30 percent by 2025. They also encouraged new policy opportunities that position Minnesota to achieve job and health benefits from energy efficiency, solar, biomass, and wind energy.
The meeting was a big success. In his State of the State address on February 6, the governor spoke clearly about the threat of climate change and the need for clean energy solutions.
Even more alarming is that our state and our nation are still not doing enough to reverse this path toward global catastrophe, before it is too late.
In Minnesota, we have made real progress in areas like energy conservation, more efficient farming and manufacturing practices, and the development and use of clean, renewable energy, especially wind energy, instead of polluting fossil fuels.
The question is: are we progressing fast enough? Are we doing all we can to utilize other renewables, such as solar, and also to make Minnesota the best place to locate these new industries and their jobs?
I challenge this legislature to work again with our state’s visionary clean energy advocates, large energy providers, large energy users, other stakeholders, and my administration to use your past achievements as springboards for Minnesota’s next big leap toward a sustainable energy future.
This session, Minnesota legislators will face multiple decisions affecting climate change, our clean energy economy, and our health. Stay tuned to Fresh Energy for updates on important bills and information about how you can help move them forward.
Photo: Will Steger Foundation