Climate & the Environment

I am a passionate advocate for the environment.

The environment has been a priority for me since I was a child.  Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I saw news stories about the rivers and 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 and concern about these stories and the harm done to our environment inspired me 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 here now, and we must respond quickly and consistently at the state, national and international level. Much of our public infrastructure has already been damaged by increased storm frequency and intensity; civil engineers have been responding to the damage caused by climate change for years.

Government policy can have an immensely positive impact on the environment, and as your Senator, I will work with industry, policy makers and my colleagues to address the threat of climate change, improve the health of the environment, and move us to a carbon-free future. 

We can help homeowners who want to move towards clean energy at an individual level. I believe in providing incentives for all 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 available to everyone whose homes present conditions favorable to installing solar panels and who is interested in doing so. I will work to expand the number of electric vehicle charging stations across the state in response to the need we will see in the next decade.  

I support restricting copper, nickel, and sulfide mining.  Our garages and closets are filled with old cell phones, computers and screens.  This tech waste is rich in valuable metals, and I will work to make Minnesota a leader in tech recycling and job creation.  We have many local experts working on this already and can leverage federal funds to do even more.

We can improve the legislation to protect Minnesota’s environment and natural heritage. Before permits to expand mining are approved, we must place the financial responsibility on mine owners to ensure safe operations and require adequate “financial assurance” to repair and restore any damage they cause.  This is a common requirement in construction, and I am anxious to pick up where I left off in requiring it on all future mining projects.

In my first legislative session, I authored several bills that would address some of the issues mentioned above, including SF205: the Prove it First Bill which requires mining companies to prove they can safely mine before receiving a permit; SF2243, requiring labels that indicate biodegradable and compostable requirements for packaged goods; and SF2535, requiring adequate financial assurance by mine owners to protect the public from the cost of environmental damage and restoration.

 

 

Prepared and paid for by Campaign of Ann Johnson Stewart, PO Box 46505, Plymouth, MN 55446