fbpx April Newsletter | Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Apr 28, 2023

April Newsletter

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In this edition of MCEA’s Environmental Monitor:


  • A note of remembrance for Amara Strande’s advocacy on PFAS 
  • Take action to ensure the strongest possible Environment and Climate budget
  • MCEA and allies petition EPA to use emergency authority to address drinking water crisis in SE Minnesota
  • Stay up-to-date on the PolyMet Contested Case Hearing 
  • Take action: Tell Hennepin County it’s time to close the HERC
  • MCEA Earth Week recap
  • Take action: Tell legislators to help fund the community-led urban farm vision in East Phillips
  • MCEA earns another spot on national Best Nonprofits to Work for list
  • We’re hiring!


A note of remembrance for Amara Strande’s advocacy on PFAS


The legislation we need to begin regulating toxic PFAS forever-chemicals was passed in both the House and Senate Environment and Climate Omnibus bills and is on the way to the conference committee. Many people have worked for this moment, but it would not have been possible without Amara Strande and her family. Please take a moment to read MCEA Legislative Director Andrea Lovoll’s statement of grief. And more importantly, watch Amara’s powerful testimony this session. Her life was changed irrevocably by PFAS chemicals. She should not have needed to become an advocate, but because Amara shared her story we will all live in a better world. 



image of the capitol rotunda, a white dome, with gold horse statues

Take action to ensure the strongest possible Environment and Climate budget


The Minnesota House and Senate have each passed their own version of the Environment and Climate budget bill (HF 2310). They are transformative budgets that make historic investments in key programs to protect our water, climate, and people from pollution. But there are notable differences between them, and we hope you’ll join us in asking your legislators to ensure the final bill includes full funding in five key areas:

  • Protecting Minnesotans from PFAS “forever chemical” pollution
  • Enhancing environmental justice for overburdened communities
  • Aligning Minnesota’s greenhouse gas reduction goals with global scientific consensus
  • Keeping the public informed about agricultural drainage proposals
  • Funding a new Minnesota Climate Innovation Finance Authority (a “green bank”)

We made it easy to email your legislators - all you need to do is click here. You can customize your message or use our suggested email.

Now is the time to reach out to your elected leaders and tell them that climate action and environmental protection is a top priority for you!



map of minnesota karst region

MCEA and allies petition EPA to use emergency authority to address drinking water crisis in SE Minnesota 


MCEA and 10 other environmental groups filed an emergency petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Monday asking the federal agency to intervene in the drinking water crisis facing southeast Minnesota. Nitrate pollution has been contaminating groundwater in the state’s karst area for years due to the proliferation of industrial farming practices and the region’s unique geography. The problem is particularly concerning for residents who rely on private wells for their drinking water. This is the first time the EPA has been asked to protect drinking water from nitrate pollution in Minnesota, and MCEA led the effort. Learn more about the problem and the requests our coalition made of the agency in this press release. You can also check out this article about it in the Star Tribune, and share it with your networks to spread awareness about this issue.



landscape photo of a beautiful river

Stay up-to-date on the PolyMet Contested Case Hearing


In March, MCEA and our allies presented expert testimony about the facts of the PolyMet copper-nickel-sulfide mine proposal and cross-examined PolyMet and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ witnesses. This long-awaited contested case hearing looked at the specifics of how the mine tailings and toxic mine-waste produced from those tailings would be stored — and why that plan would ultimately fail. 


JT Haines, MCEA’s Northeast Program Director, wrote a detailed explainer you can check out here. It explains what a contested case hearing is, the nitty-gritty of bentonite clay, and why this case is so important. 


MCEA and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness also debriefed the hearing in a webinar on April 3rd. If you missed it, click below to watch the recording!

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar


herc incinerator under a blue filter to look more ominous with words: take action

Tell Hennepin County it’s time to close the HERC


We’ve been working with the Minnesota Environmental Justice Table (MNEJ Table) to press the Hennepin County Commissioners to set a closure date for the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) trash incinerator as a complement to the County’s Zero Waste plan. The MNEJ Table is calling for City Commissioners to take a vote to retire this outdated major polluting facility. Take action today to amplify their call and support clean air for all Minnesotans here!

You can also learn more about why MCEA supports the HERC’s closure here.



photos of multiple M c e a staff members standing at events in front of m c e a signs

Left image: MCEA’s Abby Dougherty and JT Haines stand by MCEA’s interactive St. Louis River Watershed map. Right image: Supporters and MCEA’s Katie Cashman at 56 Brewery celebrating the release of Public Access IPA

MCEA Earth Week Recap


Chilly, but lots of fun up north at the Iron Range Earth Fest!


From Duluth to the Iron Range, the St. Louis River watershed connects us. Thanks to everyone who stopped by MCEA’s booth at the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability’s annual Earth Fest to share spots in the watershed that are meaningful to you. It was great to chat with attendees about the lucky fishing holes, family acreages, and favorite paddle routes along the course of the river and its tributaries. And it was a great reminder on Earth Day that all our ways of life are dependent on a clean and healthy St. Louis River watershed! 

MCEA’s relaunch of Public Access is a hit. Thanks for supporting with your sip!


At 56 Brewery, MCEA staff chatted with supporters and enjoyed a round of the brewery’s re-released Public Access IPA, a beer made in collaboration with the brewery which directly supports our work to defend Minnesota’s people and environment. Public Access will be on shelves at local stores, so keep an eye out! A dollar of each 4-pack is donated to MCEA.


Whether you attended one of MCEA’s events, a neighborhood clean-up, took action online, or just spent an extra moment last week appreciating the beauty of nature and community, we thank you. Happy Earth Week! 


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Indoor urban farm vision closer than ever for East Phillips.
Take action to make it reality!


East Phillips is closer than ever to achieving its vision of creating an indoor urban farm and community gathering space on the Roof Depot site in Minneapolis. 

After years of resistance, the City of Minneapolis has agreed to abandon its controversial plans to expand its public works facility on the site and sell it to the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute instead

A bill under consideration this legislative session would cover the cost and clear the way for East Phillips to finally achieve the healthier and more equitable future residents deserve and want. 

MCEA and our supporters have been working alongside EPNI and community advocates to advance this vision. Now it’s finally within reach. 


 Please take a moment and tell your legislator to support this bill



landscape of a sandstone cliff and water


MCEA earns another spot on national Best Nonprofits to Work for list


For the third year running, MCEA earned a spot on the NonProfit Times’ Best Nonprofits to Work For list. MCEA’s staff has grown significantly in the last 5 years, from 20 to 34 staff attorneys, advocates, and policy and subject-matter experts. Read what some of our staff had to say about why they think MCEA earned a place on the list this year. 



a loon with baby loons on her back with the words we're hiring

Join our team!


MCEA is looking for an energetic and self-motivated Water Program Specialist who is committed to justice, equity, and the environment to join our team of advocates. The Water Program Specialist will provide project management, research, and analysis in support of MCEA’s Water Program. If you have a background in water policy or a water-related field check out the listing to learn more

Send your resume and cover letter by May 15, 2023 for priority consideration.

Know someone who might be perfect for the job? Please share with your network!


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