Campaign Team News - September 2021

Campaign teams advocate for legislative change on environmental issues.

Clean Air 

The Clean Air team is primarily focusing on the City of Minneapolis’ proposed expansion of the public works maintenance yard, which would dramatically reduce pollution in the heavily-polluted Phillips neighborhood. They are particularly concerned about the air quality in this neighborhood because it is primarily populated by people of color. Next, the team will be focusing on specific issues like making community solar farms available to low-income residents.

Land Use and Transportation

To reach your destination on time, look no further than the B Line. The Land Use and Transportation (LUT) team was joined this month by representatives from Metro Transit, the City of Minneapolis, and Hennepin County to provide information on the upcoming bus rapid transit B Line, which will offer service beginning in 2024. This line will run between Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul along Lake Street, Marshall Avenue, and Selby Avenue. In the updated recommended plan, Metro Transit has added a Balanced Bus Priority scenario, which would include bus lanes in a single direction along most of the corridor in conjunction with 4-to-3 lane conversions and transit signal priority at intersections. Stop locations were also refined based on prior comment. The final plan will be released in fall 2021, following a comment period ending on August 13th.

The team is currently seeking comments on MnDOT’s Rethinking I-94 draft documents via their virtual open house in hopes of preventing lane expansions, reducing pollution, and prioritizing non-car modes of transportation along the corridor.

How you can help:

Send a message to legislators calling on them to support funding for transit, clean energy, and infrastructure improvements by passing a bold infrastructure bill.

Stop Line 3

Over 800 people have been arrested or cited in the fight against Line 3, and the first trials of water protectors have begun. In August, law enforcement seriously escalate their violence and intimidation, although water protectors with the Giniw Collective won a restraining order against the Hubbard County Sheriff and others after they had been blockading the only entrance to the organization’s private property. Because of the drought conditions in Minnesota, some of Enbridge’s permits from the DNR have been amended (although temporarily). Lawsuits from the Sierra Club and others against the Public Utilities Commission are still at the Minnesota Supreme Court. The MPCA recently released more information about Enbridge’s spills during construction, and the numbers aren’t good: the water has been polluted at more than 60% of HDD (horizontal directional drilling) sites.

Zero Waste Task Force 

The Zero Waste Task Force had a booth at Market Fest in White Bear Lake on August 5th where they had a chance to talk to people about plastic packaging and PFAS chemicals. They also had a fun sorting game for the kids during the festival. Several people from the team were able to attend the Sacred Sites Tour and found it to be a very moving, thought-provoking experience.

Last summer, the Zero Waste Task Force participated in a bottle cap study and just received the results — the ‘Capped with Toxics’ study found 2/3 of samples contained toxic chemicals in the cap. The good news is that a number of the companies are already in the process of changing to non-toxic caps for their drinks. The team also had good news when the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill to ban PFAS in food packaging.

How you can help:

Call Senator Klobuchar (202-224-3244) and Senator Smith (202.224.5641) and ask them to support the following two bills: 1) Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act 2021 and 2) PFAS Action Act 2021.

Environmental Justice in East Phillips 

Thanks to volunteers and members who wrote and called Minneapolis council members and Mayor Frey, we had a victory. The Council's Policy and Government Oversight Committee approved a resolution calling for the city to seek a new site outside of the East Phillips neighborhood for expansion of its Water Department facilities. The East Phillips Neighborhood Institute is working to buy the site for the development of an urban farm and affordable housing.