Through legal and legislative advocacy, MCEA works to stop new global warming pollution and to reduce the emissions Minnesota currently contributes by advocating for energy efficiency and a transition to renewable energy.
In state agencies and the courts, MCEA fights dirty energy and promotes less carbon-intensive methods of energy production.
We are proud of our successes.
- Defeating the proposed Big Stone II power plant in South Dakota which would have emitted an additional 5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
- Being the first environmental organization to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline through litigation in state and district courts.
- Opposing the New Ulm Public Utilities Commission’s new coal power plant, which was vetoed by the Commission thanks to our work, our partner Sierra Club, and active citizen groups.
- Demonstrating to state regulators that continued operation of old coal plants in Minnesota costs customers more than shutting them down.
MCEA partners with its clients, the Izaak Walton League of America, Fresh Energy, and Sierra Club, to transition away from Minnesota’s reliance on old coal-fired power plants. These plants are a massive source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state and in the country. In addition, coal-fired power plants produce more hazardous air emissions than any other industrial pollution sources. Particulate pollution, tiny particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, emitted from coal plants are a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, and increases the risk of premature death. Coal plants create vast quantities of toxic coal ash, the safe disposal of which requires close, long-term regulatory oversight. In addition, coal plants have enormous cooling-water requirements that adversely impact local water bodies. We advocate for cleaner energy at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) where we are involved in a number of energy cases. We also work for clean energy at the local level, such as the proposed New Ulm coal plant.
MCEA and its partners have also convinced state regulators to take an active role to accelerate the retirement of existing coal-fired plants. Thanks to our work, Minnesota’s older, expensive coal plants face an uncertain future. For example, in 2010 the PUC ordered Minnesota Power Company to work with MCEA and other stakeholders to analyze the cost-benefits of retiring one or more of the utility’s old coal-fired power plants. MCEA and its partners filed comments with specific coal plant shutdown recommendations at the PUC in May and June of 2012. The Minnesota Department of Commerce reached conclusions similar to ours, that is, that three of Minnesota Power’s coal-fired units should be priorities for near term closure. The PUC is expected to take the case up for decision by September.
Energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean fuels are what Minnesota needs instead of dirty coal. To advance the infrastructure improvements needed to expand wind power in the region and to participate in regional transmission policy, MCEA adds Wind on the Wires to its client mix.
MCEA is currently involved in the following energy cases and advocacy:
Minnesota Power Baseload Diversification Study
Sherco Coal Plant
Xcel Energy Resource Plan