On October 12th, Minneapolis residents flooded the City Council chambers and filled the overflow room. At issue was funding for the Minneapolis Climate Equity Plan, an ambitious program to reduce carbon pollution by weatherizing and retrofitting buildings for electric heat and cooking, to create safe, comfortable housing and skilled jobs for underserved communities.
The proposal–to fund the project’s first year by increasing a city franchise fee (essentially a tax) on electricity and gas service–passed out of committee and was approved by the full council.
Sierra Club members were among the residents who testified in favor of raising the franchise fee. Testimony included many salient points:
- We are in a climate emergency, and must act accordingly by rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
- Low-income and BIPOC communities experience disproportionate energy burdens, which the costs and benefits of the Climate Equity Plan must take into account.
- $10 million is only a start. Minneapolis needs to fully fund this plan over the next decade by raising enough revenue to ramp up the project.
- Minneapolis can be a leader in the state and the nation by modeling how to fight climate change.
The campaign for the Climate Equity Plan has been a model of grassroots organizing throughout the city, and across many organizations; a great example of people power. We have one victory, and we will keep pushing until across Minnesota cities have homes powered by clean energy.