2023 Legislative Priorities

MN350 Action wants to create an equitable Minnesota that is carbon-neutral and sustainable for generations to come. We are asking our state legislators to build this equitable Minnesota with us by enacting a bold, expansive climate justice agenda.

We are asking our state legislators to build this equitable Minnesota with us by enacting a bold, expansive climate justice agenda that:

Minnesota must protect the rights of all Minnesotans. Indigenous Minnesotans are more likely to experience climate impacts, financial inequity, violence, and prejudice than other Minnesotans. In addition, treaty rights — which are the supreme law of the land under Article VI of the United States Constitution — have been disregarded and ignored. A recent example of this is the construction of Line 3 despite the objection of tribal leaders. As treaty partners, we all must do our part to uphold treaties. We also recognize the link between domestic violence, sex trafficking, and extractive industries like mining and oil pipelines and desire a safe and equitable future for those impacted by those industries.

We are asking our state legislators to:

  • Protect those living in frontline communities from violence and environmental impacts that accompany the presence of extractive industries;
  • Require state agencies to act in the best interest of their obligations as treaty partners;
  • Pass legislation to teach treaty responsibilities in schools so that all Minnesotans understand treaty obligations;
  • Uplift the voices of Native Communities and place Treaties above state law as the Supreme Law of the land as per Article VI of the United States Constitution; and
  • Protect the Indian Child Welfare Act at the state level to safeguard changes to the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act decided by the United States Supreme Court.

Take action by joining the  Treaty Rights Team!

The Legislature needs to ensure that Minnesota’s actions in response to the climate crisis are comprehensive and equitable. Investments must be made across all sectors of the state including transportation, buildings, lands, industrial and waste, and adaptation and resilience. The Minnesota House Climate Caucus’s announced climate action package addresses the climate crisis with policies that will lower energy costs, create well-paying jobs and preserve Minnesota’s natural resources and quality of life.

We are asking our state legislators to:

  • Support the current Climate Action Plan;
  • Appropriate funding to install solar energy systems on universities, wastewater treatment facilities, airports, and other public infrastructure;
  • Expand and improve Minnesota’s public transportation infrastructure including bus rapid transit lines, expand Metro Transit’s fleet of electric buses, provide credits and funding for electric school buses, expand passenger rail systems to Duluth and southern MN, and build charging infrastructure for electric vehicles across Minnesota;
  • Appropriate funding for the Pre-Weatherization and Weatherization Assistance Programs to reduce energy costs and waste as well as to upgrade Minnesota Public Schools HVAC to more energy efficient systems; and
  • Increase Minnesota’s carbon capture capabilities by planting millions of new trees, conserving native grasses, and crop diversification.

Transportation continues to be the number one contributor to climate change pollution in Minnesota and the nation. Minnesota is not meeting its carbon pollution reduction goals. Communities of color and communities of lower-wage workers are disproportionately impacted by climate change, primarily due to emissions from transportation and business activities. Prioritizing investments in expanded transportation options will bring about significant reductions in carbon pollution while simultaneously promoting environmental justice by providing transit-dependent communities with better options to get where they need to go. With statewide investment in transit, bicycling, and walking we can not only protect the choices Minnesotans rely on today, but we can also create a better and more inclusive system. One that serves people of every age, race, income, and ability. One-time money is not enough. Long-term, dedicated funding is urgently needed.

We are asking our state legislators to:

● Raise the metro region sales tax for transit to one cent;

● Constitutionally dedicate a higher proportion of the motor vehicle sales tax (minimum of 60%) to transit;

● Support efforts to improve and expand access to public transportation in Greater Minnesota;

● Allocate funds to build four bus rapid transit (BRT) lines;

● Provide rebates for electric school buses, with priority in communities most impacted by air pollution from vehicle emissions and under-resourced communities;

● Require that Minnesota Public Schools replace diesel-fueled school buses with electric school buses and allocate funds such that any necessary infrastructure upgrades are possible;

● Expand Metro Transit’s fleet of electric buses;

● Develop charging infrastructure for electric vehicles across Minnesota;

● Develop and implement statewide plans to monitor air quality, with priority in communities most impacted by air pollution from vehicle emissions and under-resourced communities;

● Decriminalize fare evasion on public transit;

● Create a Transit Ambassador program in place of armed transit police; and

● Support legislation for an elected Metropolitan Council that better represents residents of the Metro.

Take action by joining the Transit Justice team.

Minnesota must provide for those who are disproportionately impacted by climate change, pollution, and the changing workforce that will result as our economy necessarily transitions away from fossil fuels. Climate change and pollution have exacerbated systemic racial, regional, social, environmental, and economic injustices by disproportionately affecting groups includ- ing Indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, and depopulated rural communities.

The transition to a clean energy economy will create a large volume of jobs and business opportunities and access to these opportunities should be available to all. Energy efficiency conservation programs save Minnesotans millions of dollars each year and provide good jobs that can’t be outsourced. Minnesota’s clean energy industry has created more than 15,000 well-paying jobs and is one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy. With incoming federal funding we can build a clean energy infrastructure that includes all Minnesotans in a just and equitable way.

We are asking our state legislators to:

  • Allocate funding to create jobs dedicated to climate adaptation and resilience within state agencies;
  • Develop proposals to cover the funding for both just-transition planning and remedies for dislocation, job or economic loss, restoration, and re-employment;
  • Develop and strengthen Minnesota’s weatherization workforce;
  • Fund projects for infrastructure adaptation and establish a resilience fund to help local governments strengthen their communities and prepare for the impacts of climate change;
  • Ensure that the clean energy economy is comprised of high-paying unionized jobs; and
  • Ensure that workers and communities impacted by this transition have a direct role in the assessment and in developing transition plans.

The science is clear that we must move to utilizing 100% clean energy sources over the next 10 years to avoid experiencing the most devastating consequences of the climate crisis. At the same time, communities of color and low-income communities already suffer disproportionate impacts from climate change and our current systems of energy generation. The current conflict in Ukraine has shown us that our dependence on oil has made us dependent on Russia for affordable fuel. If we want to be truly energy independent the time to move to clean energy is now.

We are asking our state legislators to:

  • Support legislation to move Minnesota’s energy infrastructure to 100% clean energy without leaving frontline communities behind in conjunction with the recently passed 100% Bill;
  • Pass into law the legislation known as the Minnesota Green New Deal;
  • Support the development of community solar and other local clean energy programs, including solar on schools programs, with priority in under-resourced communities and communities most impacted by air pollution;
  • Support legislation to ensure that the Public Utilities Commission moves aggressively to implement the state’s climate goals in ways that are transparent, equitable, and accountable;
  • Support a requirement to conduct a Cumulative Impact Assessment whenever new energy infrastructure is approved, in order to identify historical impacts and mitigate potential future impacts on surrounding communities; and
  • Implement a trash incineration moratorium and cease all operations on new and existing trash incineration facilities.

To truly combat climate change we must stop burning fossil fuels. Oil that has not yet been burned must stay in the ground. We work to prevent fossil fuel infrastructure in MN and the region. We have witnessed over and over our government ignore their treaty obligations and operate in ways that only benefit big corporations. We are working for a world where treaties are respected, local communities’ needs are met, and we get our energy from clean and renewable sources.

We are asking our state legislators to:

  • Clarify that our Public Utilities Commission (PUC) environment analysis process requires a needs assessment that is a consumer demand forecast — not a general demand forecast that creates openings for industry manipulation;
  • Establish an “upper limit” Social Cost of Carbon. We must take state GHG emission reduction targets as seriously as the present climate crisis indicates. We must limit carbon emissions. A proposed project must not get a permit if it emits carbon that surpasses this critical threshold. Projects below this limit may also require mitigation measures be put in place.
Take action by joining the Pipeline Resistance Team.

Minnesota’s climate needs must be dealt with at every level of government: federal, state, and local. Minneapolis is at the forefront of Minnesota’s climate fight and, as the state’s largest city, it is best suited to develop policies and priorities that are forward-looking and city-specific. Minneapolis can be a leader for other Minnesota municipalities and cities around the country. That is why MN350 has put forth the People’s Climate and Equity Plan (PCEP), a people-centered approach to implementing climate solutions, creating jobs, and reducing inequality. The PCEP seeks to guarantee comfortable, affordable, and carbon free buildings for all of Minneapolis by 2030, reduce the racial wealth gap by creating access for communities of color to family-sustaining jobs in the growing green economy, ensure every person has a safe, healthy and climate-resilient neighborhood connected by accessible, carbon-free transportation, and create a robust dedicated funding stream to make bold climate justice policy a reality.

We are asking our state legislators to:

  • Allow the City of Minneapolis to implement a corporate tax in a similar manner as other climate-focused cities;
  • Provide additional state funding to support municipalities and counties to roll out IRA funds equitably, provide everyone access to a clean energy home, and support a clean energy buildings transition; and
  • Loosen state building regulations on energy policy to allow Minneapolis to enact a quicker transition to carbon-free energy in city buildings.
Support the Minneapolis People’s Climate and Equity Plan.

Minnesota’s transportation sector is responsible for roughly 34.6 percent of the state’s carbon dioxide emissions, the most of any one sector in Minnesota. Vehicle pollution and particulate matter negatively impact air quality and the health and wellbeing of all our residents — with a disproportionately large impact on BIPOC and low-income communities located close to areas of high density traffic. While vehicle emission standards and other measures have slightly reduced Minnesota’s total emissions since measurements began in the 1970’s, MN350 Action believes the most effective way in which the state of Minnesota can act to improve the health and quality of life for its people is by passing comprehensive legislation that electrifies the transportation sector, eliminates vehicle emissions, and prioritizes communities based on the level to which they are impacted by pollution.

We are asking our state legislators to:

  • Support legislation to help eliminate Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by 2040;
  • Ensure that workers and communities impacted by this transition are included in developing these transition plans;
  • Assess the significant challenges in transportation and transit reliability and accessibility for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color;
  • Prioritize the health of communities facing high air pollution due to transportation use and ensure they are the first to receive electric options for healthier air;
  • Equitably match the funds from the IIJA and IRA that prioritize transportation electrification.
Take action by joining the Clean Transportation Team.

In Minnesota, our industrial food system is responsible for nearly one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in the state – about the same amount as the energy sector. The food system is made up of all the steps our food takes from soil, to planting and harvesting, to processing and transport, to how we consume food and dispose of food waste. Our food system represents a huge opportunity for the state in energy and carbon reduction and improved health and equity.Much of Minnesota’s industrial food system is paid for or subsidized by tax dollars. It is an extractive economy that is built for profit, rather than conservation and nourishment. While energy can be produced without emissions, the food system has the potential to go even farther: it can be used to pull carbon from the atmosphere. Our vision is a just transition to a food system that is local, regenerative, equitable toward all who depend on it, and mindful of its impact on future generations.

We are asking our state legislators to:

  • Adopt a vision of a food system that is local, regenerative, and equitable while pulling carbon from our air by supporting these goals in all 2023 bills;
  • Ensure that workers and communities impacted by this transition have a direct role in the assessment and in developing transition plans;
  • Establish a comprehensive statewide assessment of our local capacity to source, preserve, deliver, and store food locally within our communities; and
  • Commit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to a strategic plan that documents how to both reduce emissions from agriculture and greatly increase opportunities for BIPOC farmers to have a significant stake in the future of Minnesota agriculture, including targeted financing and technical assistance for BIPOC farmers.
Take action with the Food Systems team.