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Jan 14, 2021

Press Release: Environmental study must be completed before Upper Harbor Terminal vote

CMEJ logo and MCEA logo

Environmental study must be completed before Upper Harbor Terminal vote

PRESS RELEASE: 1/14/21    

CONTACTS: Roxxanne O'Brien, CMEJ, mindstates22@yahoo.com, Aaron Klemz, MCEA, aklemz@mncenter.org, 763-788-0282

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA -- Last week, Northside Community Members for Environmental Justice (CMEJ) sent a letter to the City of Minneapolis outlining a number of concerns held by Northside residents about the proposed Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) development. The letter argues that approval of the Coordinated Plan at this time violates the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and outlines nine additional concerns about the proposal and its impact on the community.  

Roxxanne O’Brien, organizer for CMEJ, stated the following about the letter sent to the City: 

I am very aware of the tension some of my fellow community members feel about demanding the City complete environmental review before the city council votes on the current Upper Harbor Terminal Coordinated Plan.

CMEJ appreciates the time and effort community members and City staff have dedicated since the approval of the Concept Plan. In particular, CMEJ commends the City and the Collaborative Planning Committee for changing course and retaining public ownership of most of the 48-acre UHT property.

One way we can get crucial information about how this coming development will impact all of us and the environment is to do the environmental study which is required by law. We are only asking for what is right for our community. We want folks from the Northside and surrounding areas, especially Black people, Indigenous, economically exploited, and underrepresented people to speak your mind wholeheartedly and for the City of MInneapolis to listen. 


MEPA requires environmental review before approval of proposals that would have a potential for significant environmental impact. Since the pending vote on the coordinated plan would constrain options for the proposed development, an environmental study should be conducted before the vote, not afterward. 

CMEJ is a coalition of Minneapolis residents advocating for clean air and water and fighting to eliminate the inequitable and disparate impact of toxic pollution and unsustainable development on the lives and health of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community members. CMEJ is deeply invested in the future of North Minneapolis and have been closely following the plans to redevelop the Upper Harbor Terminal site. 

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy supports CMEJ’s efforts to ensure bedrock environmental laws are applied in Minnesota, especially in areas where historic and continuing environmental and pollution disparities impact community members.