Minneapolis Green Zones Addressing Environmental Justice

Low-income communities, indigenous communities and communities of color in Minneapolisexperience unequal health, wealth, employment and education outcomes and  are also overburdened by environmental conditions such as traffic and stationary pollution sources, brownfield sites, blight and substandard housing.


The idea for developing a Minneapolis Green Zone initiative came from the Minneapolis Climate Action Plan Environmental Justice Working Group. A Green Zone is a place based polity initiative aimed at improving health and supporting economic developing using environmentally conscious efforts in communities that face the cumulative effects of environmental pollution, as well as social, political and economic vulnerability.

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Climate and Energy Programming From the Franchise Fee Increase Announced for 2018

New and expanded clean energy programming for 2018 was recently announced by the City’s Division of Sustainability at the Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights, and Engagement (PECE) Committee meeting on March 26. See Link https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2018-00343   Through a collaborative engagement process with the Clean Energy Partnership, the following programs totaling nearly $1,000,000 were selected:

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Minneapolis passes 100% renewable energy resolution

On Friday, April 27th, the Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution to transition to 100 percent clean renewable electricity citywide by 2030, on a unanimous vote. The resolution also sets a much more immediate goal of 100 percent renewable electricity for municipal facilities and operations by 2022.


 Minneapolis now joins 64 other cities in the nation who have passed similar 100% renewable resolutions such as Atlanta; Boulder, Orlando, Madison, Portland, Ore; St. Louis, San Francisco; San Diego; Salt Lake City. Minnesota is the largest city in the Midwest to pass the resolution and the third City in Minnesota after Saint Louis Park and Rochester.

iMatter speaking at Press Conference    


In addition to the resolution, Mayor Frey also joined the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative, which already includes nearly 200 mayors nationwide.

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Nuclear Blank Check bill gets House Hearing

There was no roll call vote taken at the April 16th House Committee Hearing on HF 3708, the fate of HF 3708 will be part of an insider process, perhaps being included as part of a larger legislative package.

       Some of the most important takeaways from the hearing:

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Committee advances Xcel Nuclear Blank Check Bill despite overwhelming public opposition

On March 27th, 2018, the MN State Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee held a hearing on Nuclear Blank check bill SF 3504, and advanced it toward a full Senate vote.  

Due to hearing overwhelming lopsided opposition to the bill, the Senate Committee amended the language both before and during the hearing in order to justify advancing the measure on a 7 to 2 vote.  

See Coverage of hearing in MPR !

UPDATE: The Companion Bill HF 3708 had a House Hearing on April 16th & narrowly passed out of House Committee on April 20th. While SF 3504 passed the full Senate on May 14th, no full house vote took place before the end of session so the the bill did not advance. 


On both March 27th and five days earlier on March 22nd, 2017 Community Power and Coalition partners provided a small dose of visual theatrics and a mini-rally in the hall of the State Senate building with our giant replica of a blank check prop, our "Xcel red box" prop and a "Mr. Moneybags" outfit. 

On March 22nd, the Committee abruptly and at the last minute cancelled the hearing we were anticipating on SF 3504 (after it had already been postponed once before, originally scheduled for March 20th).

In my phone conversation with the Committee administrator when I was requesting to testify at the public hearing on SF 3504, he told me that a lot of people had signed up to speak at the hearing, and I later learned the vast majority were opposed. So rather than face members of the public expressing fierce opposition on the unpopular bill on March 22nd, they schemed to reintroduce a somewhat different version of the bill for a hearing the following Tuesday, March 27th. Amending the bill gave the committee a way to claim they were taking peoples concerns into account about safeguards for ratepayers and flexibility for the PUC.

However, the organizations who expressed opposition to the very brazen original language of SF 3504 remained opposed to the bill at the March 27th hearing and agreed the revised nuclear blank check bill still had the same “core” problem (pun kind of intended). 

As a result, Chair Osmek had to repeat the same technique of amending the bill to give the appearance of responding to public input. Osmek offered an amendment which passed the Committee unanimously and shortly after the Committee advanced the bill on a 7 to 2 vote. While Senator Goggin recused himself, all other Republicans voted yes, while the Committee’s 4 DFL members were split 2 against (Marty, Dibble) and 2 in favor (Hoffman, Simonson).   




The Senate Committee provided the roster of names who had requested to speak to about SF 3504 and it showed a total of 21 individuals having requested to testify against the bill and just 2 individuals having signed up the speak in favor.


The only non-Xcel speaker in favor was Andy Snope with the IBEW MN State Council. Despite anti-SF 3504 speakers outnumbering pro-SF 3504 speakers by a 10 to 1 ratio, Committee Chair Osmek decided to give the entire slate of opposition and supporters both the same 20 minutes total time slot to speak. As a result, only the top 10 individuals on the whole list got to speak.

 One additional handout at the hearing was also a joint letter penned by 4 different organizations (The Citizens’ Utility Board, AARP, Energy CENTs, and the MN Citizens Federation) opposing this bill.





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