The Skywriter

Minnesota climate champ welcomes "The Storm"

6
Apr

Minnesota climate champ welcomes "The Storm"

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By Clean Water Minnesota organizer Darrell Gerber. -- Luis

Minnesota experienced an incredibly rare occurrence this year: for the first time in over 100 years, it has not snowed in the month of March. While other parts of the country are experiencing damaging snows and torrential rains, we have seen the other side of the coin. We can’t necessarily attribute this to climate change but it certainly has been on the minds of many across Minnesota.

It was against this backdrop that a group of dedicated activists showed up last Monday (3/29) on an unusually beautiful day at Rep. Tim Walz’s office in Mankato, Minnesota. They were there to thank him for his vote last year on the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act; the only comprehensive climate and energy bill to pass either body of Congress. (See pictures from the event below.)

The collection of constituents at his office showed Congressman Walz their strong support for passing comprehensive climate and energy legislation. He has taken some lumps since his vote on ACES but has stayed strong, speaking out for the need to address climate change.

The group gathered in the parking lot under the warm spring sun to don t-shirts and hard hats. The jovial moods lead to wisecracks about attracting the interest of police concerned we were selling contraband from the trunk of my car. Instead, we were distributing civic engagement -- and folks loved it! After some pictures and a quick briefing, we headed in to meet with Congressman Walz’s staff.

The Congressman unabashedly believes that the science on climate change shows we have a serious problem and we must act now to head off the worst impacts. Minnesota has one of the strongest Renewable Energy Standards (RES) in the nation: a 25% RES by 2025. The First Congressional District has been one of the areas receiving the greatest benefit from Minnesota’s RES with a dramatic expansion of wind energy production. Congressman Walz sees the need for continued expansion of new renewable energy production and energy efficiency to help build strong Minnesota communities. This requires an expansion nationally of policies proven to work here at home.

Before leaving the meeting, everyone had a chance to express the need for strong climate and energy legislation to pass this year. The targeted comments ranged from the need for significantly more renewable energy sources to offset dirty coal to increased focus on energy efficiency and conservation. They also expressed concern that legislation will sacrifice clean renewable energy for nuclear energy. There was also considerable frustration expressed over the numerous attempts to remove the EPA’s authority to regulate global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act.

Before we headed on our way, the Congressman’s staff person expressed their support for greatly increasing the use of clean, safe renewable energy. They also agreed they would oppose efforts for Congress to legislate away the science of climate change. The constituents came away hopeful that comprehensive climate and energy legislation is on the way but also energized to continue to work to bring about strong, sound climate solutions.

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