fbpx Mission & Impact | Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

We use law and science to protect Minnesota’s environment, its natural resources, and the health of its people.

For nearly half a century, we’ve worked in the courts, at the legislature, and with public agencies to enact, strengthen, and enforce smart environmental law. We educate the public about environmental issues and support communities in their fight to protect their environment, especially where people are disproportionally impacted by pollution and social inequities.

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit advocacy organization, with an in-house team that includes some of Minnesota’s foremost environmental law and policy professionals, as well as policy analysts, subject-matter experts and communications professionals. We are unique among environmental organizations in that we utilize legal expertise in the pursuit of environmental justice.

How we do it

MCEA lawyers at court

High Impact Legal Battles

Our staff of in-house lawyers takes legal actions that create big impacts. We fight against polluters, short-sighted policies and actions, environmental disparities and injustices, dirty politics and attacks on the scientific method.

Gov Walz signing legislation

Shaping Policy

Our team of policy analysts, subject-matter experts and communications professionals is at the Capitol and in communities, fighting for far-sighted policies and actions, environmental justice and equity, clean and transparent politics and the scientific method

MCEA with partner organizations at the courtroom

Forming Partnerships

We are stronger together. That’s why we partner with community members, decision-makers, subject-matter experts and others to work toward common goals.

Lasting environmental wins for Minnesotans

Chuck Dayton

Forty-five years ago, I was part of a group that formed this organization upon the idealistic premise that excellent legal representation, as competent as those representing the well-funded opposition, is essential to long term protection of the environment. MCEA’s continuing success is the fulfillment of the dream of the founders, and an ongoing answer to the intergenerational injustice that faces our grandchildren and future generations. My continued support is not optional, because I love nature and care about our descendants' future.

– Chuck Dayton, MCEA’s first lawyer 

Help us defend Minnesota’s environment today


​MCEA envisions clean water, clean air, healthy ecosystems, a sustainable economy, and improved public health for all Minnesotans. We are committed to growing our capacity and impact to achieve measurable progress toward this vision.



We make our decisions based on facts, science, and law.


Our goal is to achieve positive environmental and public health results, using all the tools at our disposal.


We are in this for the long haul.  We seek long-term, systemic changes, and we recognize that major achievements almost always require patience and a sustained effort.


We coordinate our efforts and combine our unique strengths with our partners’ unique strengths to achieve common goals.  We welcome partnerships with groups whose interests do not always mirror our own.


We treat everyone—coworkers, partners, opponents—with respect.


We seek solutions that are fair to future generations and to all people.


  NTP best non profits to work for 2021NPT 2022Best Places to Work Logo

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) is honored to announce its inclusion for the second year running on The NonProfit Times Best Nonprofits to Work For list.  MCEA was also included as a  2022 Best Places to Work honoree by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal

“MCEA will always strive to ensure our team members feel valued and supported; it empowers our employees to be the best possible advocates protecting Minnesota’s air and water. Our effectiveness as an organization is directly tied to our employees’ health and well-being, both at work and at home,” MCEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Kathryn Hoffman'