Climate & the Environment
We must address the existential threat of climate change.
I’ve cared about environmental issues for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I watched news stories about the rivers that feed our Great Lakes being so polluted that they started on fire, and about Love Canal, a New York neighborhood polluted by toxic dumping that caused cancer and other negative health impacts in local children and residents.
My horror about these stories and the harm done to our environment and people made me want to become an environmental engineer; I majored in civil/environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and hoped to use my skills to decrease pollution and prevent further damage to the environment. My engineering expertise informs my knowledge that climate change is real and not something we can choose whether to believe in or not.
We know that government policy can have an immensely positive impact on the environment, and as your Senator, I have used my power to address the threat of climate change and improve the health of the environment.
I will continue working to commit Minnesota to 100% energy sustainability by 2030, push for the passage of all legislative efforts related to every resolution supported by the DFL Environmental Caucus (the full list of those resolutions can be found here), and push for the passage of legislation that directs the state Board of Investments to divest its portfolio from all investments in fossil fuel companies and fossil fuel infrastructure. These investments come with a moral cost and, increasingly, significant financial risk.
We also need to help homeowners who want to move towards clean energy at an individual level. I believe in providing incentives for homeowners to install solar panels on their homes – my home has a 36-panel solar array that will pay for itself in just nine years. Incentives and financing options should be made available to everyone whose homes present conditions favorable to installing solar panels and who is interested in doing so. I am working to expand the number of electric vehicle charging stations across the state in response to the need we will see in the next decade.
Copper, nickel, and sulfide mining should be heavily restricted and regulated in Minnesota. In the short term, we need to place a moratorium on this kind of mining in our state, including a complete halt to the permitting process, so we can commission an independent study on why the current permit and regulatory processes have not worked as designed.
Many argue the legislation necessary to protect Minnesota’s environment and natural heritage, and to honor treaty rights already exists. But the extensive damage caused by many current and former mining projects indicates otherwise. We need to learn exactly where our current system has failed and use that information to design a much stronger permitting and regulatory process that prevents as much damage as possible and holds companies financially accountable.
In my first legislative session, I authored the following bills that would help address some of the issues mentioned above. If you want to learn more about the bills or have additional ideas, please reach out to me.
Signed into law:
- State Building Energy Conservation Revolving Loan Fund establishment; bond issue authorization and appropriation
Chief Authored in my first term:
- SF205: The Prove it First Bill
- Nonferrous mining permits determinations requirement prior to permit issuance
- Labeling items as biodegradable and compostable requirements modification
- Nonferrous permits to mine financial assurance requirements modifications
Prepared and paid for by Campaign of Ann Johnson Stewart, PO Box 46505, Plymouth, MN 55446