This month we are focusing on climate change in Minnesota, and highlighting the work of MEF member organizations to protect Minnesota’s environment from the harmful effects of climate change. 

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) is one of our members who is leading on the climate crisis. 

Mission: MCEA uses law and science to protect Minnesota’s environment, its natural resources, and the health of its people. For nearly 50 years, they’ve worked in the courts, at the legislature, and with public agencies to enact, strengthen, and enforce smart environmental laws. MCEA’s team includes some of the foremost environmental law and policy professionals in the state. Their in-house lawyers and policy experts uniquely position them to stand up for Minnesota’s people, climate, and environment.

Impact on our climate: As the top legal voice for Minnesota’s environment, MCEA is fighting climate change in Minnesota by passing new laws and winning new legal precedent in court to reduce carbon emissions. MCEA has closed coal plants across the state, expanded investment in renewable energy, and fought for carbon emissions to be included in environmental assessments for new industrial development. When they set their sights on closing coal plants, there were 16 coal burners operating in Minnesota. MCEA has since secured early retirement dates for all but one coal burner in the state. 

In Summer 2020, MCEA intervened in the proposed expansion of Daley Farm mega-dairy in Winona County in partnership with the Land Stewardship Project (another MEF member!) If this project moves forward as is, it would create greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to adding 22,500 cars to the road each year – yet, the environmental study for the project didn’t consider carbon emissions at all.  MCEA argued that this omission violated Minnesota law. The court agreed and, as a result of the work of these MEF members, is requiring the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to re-do the environmental study to assess the project’s greenhouse gas emissions and ways to mitigate them. MCEA is now using this precedent to ensure emissions are a consideration in the MPCA’s assessment of future projects across a variety of sectors in Minnesota. Follow this case and learn about MCEA’s other climate cases on their website

Opportunities to engage in MCEA’s climate work: 

To learn more about how MEF members are working together to solve the climate crisis, visit our Impact page.