To pass the Sierra Club North Star Chapter’s legislative priorities at the Minnesota Capitol with the help of 50,000 activists across the state. Our state level advocacy is a key way to advance the just, sustainable future we all deserve.
What We Do
- Set policy priorities we’ll focus on
- Lobby for our priorities at the state capital
- Inspire our activists and organizers to action
- Grow our grassroots efforts through local actions
Join SierraAction to be a part of grassroots organizing in support of our legislative priorities!
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2023 Legislative Priorities
We’re looking at a remarkable opportunity for Minnesota’s environment.
For the first time in a decade the Democratic-Labor-Party (DFL) is in control of the Governor’s office, State House and Senate. The last time this happened, Minnesota fell short of taking the action we need to address the climate crisis. We can’t let this happen again!
The need for action — from all Sierra Club members and supporters — could not be more urgent. This legislative session we have the chance to:
- Pass 100% Clean Energy Legislation. This historic legislation will require utilities to provide 100% carbon-free electricity for Minnesotans by 2040. This is our moment to pass policy to meet the timeframe our planet and communities need, and an important step in supporting a just transition to clean energy.
- Provide Clean Transportation For All. Transportation is the number one source of climate pollution in the state. Minnesotans deserve transportation options that protect our climate while providing clean air, safe streets, and access to opportunity—especially for communities of color, seniors, low income families, and people with disabilities. We must provide ongoing, sustainable funding for buses, trains, bicycling and walking, while transitioning to clean, electric vehicles.
- Protect our Water, Lands, & Communities. From the Boundary Waters in the north to the farmlands in the south, Minnesota lands and water need our protection. We support the following bills:
- Prove it First: We will fight to pass bills to prevent toxic copper-sulfide mines until proven safe.
- Frontline Communities Protection Act: We’re standing with frontline communities to pass legislation to limit polluting projects in neighborhoods that already have more than their fair share of pollution.
- Community Access to Solar: Pass legislation to provide low-income and BIPOC residents with access to solar
- Lowland Carbon and Habitat Reserve: We’re seeking funding and policy changes to protect old-growth forests and sequester carbon.
- Extended Producer Responsibility: We support a bill to enact an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy, which would hold producers responsible for their products and packaging throughout the entire lifecycle.
Keep reading to learn more about each topic.
We support real action on climate change. This includes moving Minnesota toward a healthy, equitable energy future that increases good family-supporting jobs, saves customers money, and ensures that climate solutions benefit those most affected by environmental injustice.
- The 100% clean energy bill, requiring that 100% of Minnesota’s electricity will be generated from carbon-free sources by 2040.
- Supporting policies to stop carbon pollution such as the Next Generation Energy Act.
- Maximizing investments in real climate action, using state surplus and federal infrastructure resources, including those proposed in the 2022 Minnesota House Climate Caucus plan.
Our transportation system is the number one source of climate pollution in the state. Minnesotans deserve a transportation system that protects our climate while providing clear air, safe streets, and access to opportunity—especially for communities of color, seniors, low income families, and people with disabilities. Without significant investments in 2023 we will not be able to address emissions from the transportation sector fast enough for Minnesota to do its part to address the climate crisis.
- New, ongoing, dedicated revenue in the Metro area to build out and operate a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network, and 10% set-aside for walking and bicycling infrastructure and education and safety programs.
- New, ongoing investment for transit, walking, and bicycling outside the Metro area, across Minnesota.
Every sulfide ore (copper nickel) mine located in a water-rich environment has resulted in pollution of surface or groundwater. Sulfide ore mining has never been done in our state and is uniquely risky. Multiple proposals threaten clean water and communities in the Lake Superior, Boundary Waters, and Mississippi River watersheds.
Prove it First would prohibit sulfide ore mines until they’re proven safe through long-term operation and closure of similar mines elsewhere. Wisconsin had a similar law for two decades.
Next Level of Priority
All communities, regardless of race or class, have the right to clean air and water. Minnesotans of color and poor Minnesotans are disproportionately burdened by polluting industries and facilities located in their neighborhoods. We support efforts to pass the Frontline Communities Protection Act which would require agencies issuing permits to look beyond the impacts of the single project to a review of the cumulative impacts of existing pollution sources and the demographics of the area.
We also are supporting the Community Access to Solar bill led by Cooperative Energy Future, providing BIPOC and low income residents with access to community solar and rooftop solar will lower their energy costs and help clean the air in the areas where they live.
Protecting Minnesota’s lowland conifer forests is an effective way to mitigate climate change, by keeping carbon locked up in older trees, soils, and peat bogs. Lowland conifer ecosystems are rare across the world. We support establishment of a Lowland Carbon and Habitat Reserve, to increase protections for high priority state-owned lowland conifer forest land, and complement the DNR’s ongoing designation process for Lowland Conifer Old Growth forests.
The production, use, and disposal of plastic is contributing to climate change and creating a health and environmental crisis. Zero waste policies are essential to protecting frontline communities.
We support a bill to enact an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy, which would hold producers responsible for their products and packaging throughout the entire lifecycle – from product design all the way through to reuse, recycling, or safe disposal.
We are also tracking
- Sustainable Solutions to Motorized Recreation in Minnesota-Off Road Vehicles;
- Beverage Container Deposit System;
- PFAS – Essential-Use Only;
- Protecting Children from Lead in School Drinking Water;
- Public Water Inventory Definition and Procedural Clarification;
- Road Salt Mitigation; and
- Limits on Wake Boats.