Environment & Climate Change

Addressing pollution and climate change can’t wait. Minnesota’s natural resources make this a beautiful place to live. But air pollution alerts, polluted lakes and rivers, unsafe drinking water and more show we have much more work to be done. While we’ve dramatically increased our use of renewable energy, there’s much more to do.

A record of results

  • Diane helped pass a nation leading renewable energy standard and helped pass pro-solar and pro-wind legislation. We’ve met the goal of 25% renewable 7 years early. Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation are now 29% less.
  • Diane made sure the community was informed and engaged when TCE vapors were discovered in SE Minneapolis from old chemicals in the aquifer and quick testing and remediation was needed.
  • Diane secured the first state funds to help our communities plan for and respond to the Emerald Ash Borer which will ultimately kill almost 900 million trees across Minnesota. Trees clean our air, store carbon, reduce utility costs, and help manage storm water runoff.
  • Diane took on the chemical industry and passed the first in the U.S. ban on triclosan in antibacterial soaps. It is bad for our health, no better at killing germs than regular soaps, and U of M research showed it is creating dioxins in lakes and rivers across Minnesota. Diane first heard of this from an area resident, researched it and went to work.
  • Diane secured funds and policies to help restore the Mississippi River in our part of the city.
  • Diane helped push the conversion of the Riverside Coal plant to natural gas. There’s no more discussion of soot dusted laundry (and lungs) from residents nearby.

But more remains to be done

 

  • Energy conservation needs to regain priority. It is our cheapest and fastest way to reduce global warming. Yet because there is not a major profit center advocating for this, it has tended to get less of the attention it needs. We could reduce the energy footprint of our community dramatically with affordable finance for old home and business upgrades.
  • Diane is an author of a 50% renewable energy standard.
  • Governor Dayton’s leadership on statewide clean water initiatives needs strong support and an aggressive timeline. It is better (and less costly) to prevent pollution than to clean it up.
  • Diane opposes putting our BWCA and Lake Superior area waters at risk with unproven major sulfide mining efforts that will only create jobs for a few decades while posing hundreds of years of environmental risk. The science and protections need more study and small scale testing. In the meantime, let’s better mine the minerals in outdated and discarded electronics and machinery and recycle them.
  • The state should continue to partner with our city on Mississippi River restoration. Reversing our industrial past will reestablish the shoreline, natural habitat, and recreational opportunities along the Mississippi River in our area and give us the health promoting opportunities of exposure to nature, loop trails along the water, and reduced local pollution. Done right, it will give us amenities that other areas such as Southwest Minneapolis take for granted.
  • Air pollution is directly tied to health and needs more attention. Asthma rates and other health indicators are all too high in many neighborhoods. It should not be acceptable that children and seniors are frequently asked to stay inside and avoid vigorous activity to reduce exposure to polluted air.