fbpx FY23 Online Annual Report | Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy


The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy is a nonprofit organization that uses law, science and research to protect Minnesota's environment, its natural resources and the health of its people.



Across all programs, MCEA has a long-standing reputation for excellence and  effectiveness in environmental advocacy. Driven by science, and the law, MCEA works in four key areas to achieve the best possible outcomes for Minnesota’s environment and the health of its people. ​

Clean Energy and Climate: MCEA’S Climate Team strives to achieve equitable, economy-wide greenhouse gas reductions, while encouraging equitable community and institutional resilience to adapt to unavoidable climate change. MCEA was instrumental in the coalition that supported major updates to the state’s policies on climate change, including updated goals for reducing greenhouse gases and a rapid transition to 100% clean energy.  MCEA’s legal and policy experts work to enforce and implement those new laws by supporting long-term development of modern and sustainable energy sources for Minnesota and shifting away from fossil fuel use to reduce carbon pollution. To support this goal, MCEA serves as legal counsel for several Minnesota clean energy organizations.

Northeast Minnesota: This program works to protect the land, water, and people of Northeastern Minnesota, and to promote a safe and healthy future for all Minnesotans. MCEA works to protect Northeastern Minnesota communities and waters from mining pollution, especially sulfide mining pollution, by holding state agencies accountable in permitting and enforcement processes. MCEA also works to protect and enhance Northeastern Minnesota lands, forests, and biodiversity, especially for climate resilience. This program is designed to partner with local communities most affected by historic pollution, and build bridges to new partners, including those with whom our views may not always align.

Water Quality: MCEA’s Water Quality program focuses on protecting Minnesota’s greatest natural resource and economic asset: its water. Minnesotans rely on our water for drinking, recreation, travel, a wide variety of economic activity, and well-being. MCEA works to protect surface and groundwater by securing more effective controls on “forever chemicals”, agricultural runoff, and pollution. MCEA also seeks to protect Lake Superior from the dual threats of pollution and invasive species. MCEA partners with communities to protect local drinking water sources from a wide range of threats that undermine public health. MCEA also acts as a watchdog to assure that clean water funds from the Legacy Amendment and Lottery funds are targeted effectively.

Healthy Communities: Environmental harms fall more heavily on some communities that are historically and disproportionately affected by environmental impacts and pollution. In these areas, environmental laws are ignored or enforced in such a way to protect polluters, not the community. MCEA’s advocacy focuses on building and protecting healthy communities for all. The Healthy Communities program leverages MCEA’s legal skills, organizational resources, and access to decision-makers to build power for communities and fight for environmental justice alongside our partners. MCEA is proud to have dedicated and general funding to support environmental justice work and aims to integrate environmental justice principles into every aspect of its work.


MCEA partnered with numerous organizations and legislators to help pass the 100% Clean Energy bill into law, requiring all Minnesota electric utilities to use only carbon-free energy by 2040. MCEA is proud to support the energy transformation that Minnesota needs to address urgent climate challenges.

In June 2023 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it had revoked the wetlands destruction permit (Clean Water Act section 404) for the PolyMet mine proposal. This was a critical turning point in the long legal and regulatory saga of this proposed sulfide mine, and one of several markers of progress against an ongoing threat to Minnesota’s water and health.

MCEA partnered to help pass one of the nation’s toughest bans on products containing the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Work toward containing these “forever chemicals” continued in our Water Quality program as MCEA partnered to submit a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of setting safe drinking water limits on PFAS. 

The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) Farm - is the only Hmong-owned and operated nonprofit farming collective in the state. HAFA and MCEA worked closely on legislation and lobbied legislators to halt the expansion of an interchange that would profoundly harm the farm. As a result of our joint advocacy, Dakota County announced in March that it had decided not to move forward with the project.


The entire state and population of Minnesota

Fiscal Year 2023 MCEA Board of Directors

Fiscal Year MCEA 2023 Staff

Financial data for FY 2023 annual report

TOTAL REVENUE: $4,699,841


Contributions: $4,227,329

Program Services, Investment and Other: $472,512

TOTAL EXPENSES: $4,396,862 


Program expenses: $3,396,735

Management and Administration: $453,924

Fundraising: $546,203


Clean Energy and Climate Change: $1,301,218

Northeast Minnesota: $830,146

Water Quality: $728,300

Healthy Communities: $537,071