fbpx July 2022 MCEA Newsletter | Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Aug 01, 2022

July 2022 MCEA Newsletter

July 2022 Environmental Monitor

In this edition of MCEA’s Environmental Monitor:

  • PolyMet announces partnership with Teck – read our FAQ 
  • Webinar: Tuesday, August 2nd: Get up to speed on the PUC
  • Take action - help USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack get the message: reject NTEC
  • Meet our new Chief Equity and Partnership Officer Eric Ini (article)
  • Webinar: RSVP to the next installment of our Green Beagle CLE series August 30th
  • Recap: MCEA’s annual Duluth get-together a big success
  • Learn what we shared at the Ely Tuesday Group (article)
  • MCEA takes part in Fresh Energy Summer webinar series (watch recordings)

Heads up! Our annual metro-area event is in the works! Join MCEA for an afternoon along the Mississippi River to celebrate another big year! Save the date for Sunday, October 9th – look out for your first chance to buy tickets in the coming weeks!


"NewRange" Merger of PolyMet and Teck, Same Old Problems

On July 17th, PolyMet Corporation and Teck Resources announced they were forming a joint venture, combining the PolyMet plant site, PolyMet mine site, and Teck's Mesaba deposit located three miles east of the proposed PolyMet mine. While the impact of this development remains somewhat uncertain, we do know a few things:

  • PolyMet’s mine proposal remains just as dangerous as it always has been. 
  • Major permits we fought to overturn in court are still overturned. 
  • Adding Teck’s deposit to the PolyMet mine plan threatens both Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters.
  • With this new infusion of cash from another global mining giant, we need your help to protect Minnesota’s people and water more than ever.

In response to questions we've received from supporters about this joint venture, Chief Strategy Officer Aaron Klemz wrote a piece on the MCEA website explaining what we know right now. 

Click here for a deeper dive on the PolyMet/Teck Merger


Webinar (8/2): How to Participate at the Public Utilities Commission

As we’ve seen over the past several years, decisions made by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) have big impacts. The PUC is obligated to make decisions about utility service safety, efficiency, reliability and affordability in a manner consistent with the public interest. To learn more about how to share your concerns with the PUC and influence their decision-making, attend MCEA’s August 2 webinar: Introduction to Participating at the Public Utilities Commission. Led by our Regulatory Attorney, Amelia Vohs, the webinar will cover:

  • Who serves on the PUC and what types of cases they handle
  • How to track and observe PUC cases, decisions and hearings
  • How to have your position heard at the PUC
  • And more!

Bring your questions about how to participate in PUC decision-making and feel free to share the webinar invite with anyone you think might benefit from the content.

Click here to RSVP


Take action: Tell USDA Secretary to reject NTEC

For years MCEA and clean energy allies have been fighting against Minnesota Power’s proposed NTEC fossil gas plant in Superior, Wisconsin. Expensive, unneeded, and damaging to public health and the climate – NTEC is a bad deal for Minnesota. 

MCEA is taking a multi-prong approach to prevent Northeast Minnesota from getting locked into a fossil fuel future. One piece of that approach is preventing the federal government (USDA’s Rural Utility Service) from issuing a loan to help fund the construction of NTEC. The Biden administration has been clear on the threat of climate change. A federal subsidy for a new fossil gas power plant just doesn’t make sense. Help us put the pressure on. If you use Twitter, please retweet this post telling USDA Secretary Tom Vislack to reject NTEC.

Not on Twitter but still looking to take action? Our video can be shared on Facebook, via email, or online by copying this YouTube link: https://youtu.be/PiwV69EU76k


Eric Ini

Read our Q&A with MCEA’s new Chief Equity and Partnership Officer: Eric Ini

MCEA is excited to announce the addition of a Chief Equity and Partnership Officer to our growing staff. Eric Ini joined our team earlier this summer and brings more than a decade of experience, expertise, and fresh perspective to our environmental justice work. Read about his time working in South Korea, the Congo-basin and Michigan, and hear his perspective on some of the roadblocks to achieving environmental justice, in this in-depth Q&A.


The Green Beagle CLE Environmental Law Series

Join us on Tuesday, August 30th at noon for the second installment of our three-part Green Beagle CLE series: Mining the Climate Crisis: prioritizing recovery, recycling, and reuse.

In this webinar, MCEA experts will explore the other side of the “mining for the clean economy” narrative. Don’t let the mining industry fool you; complex problems require complex solutions. We can’t simply mine our way out of the climate crisis.

At our August 30th webinar, panelists will identify the ways that our laws prioritize mining over cleaner, easier options like metals recovery, recycling, and reuse. The panelists will explore how the debate around “critical minerals” could invigorate efforts to build a more circular economy here in Minnesota.

MCEA’s Green Beagle series is designed for lawyers, but open to anyone looking for a deep dive into important environmental issues facing Minnesota. 1 standard CLE credit will be applied for.

Click here to RSVP to our August 30th webinar and view a recording of the first session from our 2022 Green Beagle Series


MCEA presents at Ely Tuesday Group - Beware the Industry Rhetoric!

MCEA presented at the Ely Tuesday Group this month in front of a group of about 80 attendees. Our message was picked up well by the Ely Timberjay newspaper, and it is this: If we need more metals for renewable energy uses, we should look to existing sources first. It's a dangerous game to pit our clean water against the transition to a cleaner energy economy. 

Read more about our presentation here


Pictures from Duluth Event

Third Annual Duluth Get-Together a Huge Success

On Tuesday, MCEA enjoyed its largest Duluth annual get-together since opening our new office with over 125 people in attendance and over a dozen staff joining from our St. Paul office! We really appreciate this annual opportunity to get together in person with local supporters, talk about the work, and have a little fun. 

MCEA's JT Haines, Artists Adam Swanson with print

We were particularly excited to be able to share this year an extra special giveaway. Pictured above is Duluth resident Michelle Rice, winner of this beautiful signed canvas print of the Adam Swanson painting "Defend." The original painting hangs in our Duluth office, a specially commissioned piece of work reflecting our commitment to the area. 

This was our third annual summer get-together in Duluth, and we plan to continue the last Tuesday in July timeframe moving forward. All are welcome. We hope to see you next summer!


Watch: MCEA staff and board member participate in Fresh Energy’s summer webinar series

In July, MCEA staff attorney Amelia Vohs and board member Dr. Gabe Chan took part in Fresh Energy’s summer webinar series. The series focused on how energy and climate issues play out across our society—in books and film, institutions of higher learning, our democracy, and in the very air we breathe. 

Dr. Chan was a panelist on Energy + Democracy – a discussion on the intersection of community engagement and climate action and justice. And, in part 2 of the series – Energy + Higher Ed – Amelia Vohs shared her insights on energy law, the power of youth advocates, and MCEA’s leadership of the Energy and Environmental clinic at the UofM law school.

Click here to watch all the webinars from Fresh Energy’s 2022 Summer webinar series