August 2, 2021

MN350 Action, other climate groups decry efforts by MN Chamber of Commerce to block updates to state’s environmental review process

Efforts by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce to “declaw” climate-related updates to the state’s environmental review processes were sharply criticized today by a coalition of environmental groups as yet another example of the chamber’s attempts to kill common-sense climate solutions in the state. The Bad for Business campaign was launched a year ago by MN350 Action and partners to expose the chamber’s record of holding Minnesota back when it comes to addressing climate change.

For more than a year, the Environmental Quality Board has been considering adding climate impacts to the environmental review process that large development projects in Minnesota must undergo. To do so would require a simple and common-sense procedural change. Many public comments on the EQB’s proposal were supportive and described the change as overdue. Yet with the proposal close to being approved, the MN Chamber of Commerce and other groups are now attempting to exert influence to delay the rule and limit its scope.

“This is a clear example of how the chamber undermines needed climate action,” said Sam Benson of Interfaith Power and Light, a coalition member. “Their refusal to let any attempt at climate action through in the state under the guise of concern for Minnesota businesses writ large is alarming. If they were really concerned for all Minnesota businesses and not just their fossil fuel-producing members, they would support climate solutions like this rule. With the extreme drought, record heat, and poor air quality conditions we are experiencing this summer, it’s beyond time for the Minnesota Chamber to get on board with climate action.”

The Chamber’s history of opposing common-sense climate action was detailed by MN350 Action and partners in a report released last year. It describes how the chamber has spent $6.5 million lobbying in Minnesota over the past three years, opposing even the most common-sense pieces of climate legislation, such as the ECO Act, Clean Energy First Bill and HF700.