Over 100 gathered to chart an equitable clean energy transition in MN
Following the 2023 legislative session, over 100 elected officials and community leaders, from advocacy organizations to small business owners in the energy sector, joined us at: Paving the Way to Justice 40! We discussed how to chart a course forward for full, equitable participation of Indigenous and BIPOC communities in the rapidly unfolding clean energy revolution here in Minnesota.
A dozen speakers covered key topics on Minnesota’s clean energy transition including a review of federal & state resources for an equitable transition. Presentations included:
- Pete Wyckoff, Assistant Commissioner of Federal and State Energy Initiatives at the Minnesota Department of Commerce: Present and future opportunities for the State of Minnesota.
- Nicky Leingang, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s (MN-05) Office: What’s being done to ensure Minnesota takes maximum advantage of federal funding, programs and opportunities, Justice 40.
- Bonnie Keeler, UMN Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy.
- Presentation Slides: Overview of Thriving Community Technical Assistance Centers (TCTAC).
We heard powerful reflections on the 2023 legislative clean energy wins from representatives who championed environmental justice:
- Senator Tou Xiong, Vice-chair of the Energy, Utilities, Environmental and Climate Committee.
- Representative Athena Hollins, Vice-chair of the Rules and Legislative Administration Committee, members of Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee.
- Representative Fue Lee, Chair of the Capital Investment Committee, member of the Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee.
- Presentation Slides: View key environmental outcomes for the 2023 Legislative session.
- [Also check out MNIPL’s analysis of all equity wins in the 2023 legislature]
We also heard insights on the community engagement and organizing efforts that set the stage for current legislative wins from key community leaders:
- Nazir Khan: Environmental Justice Table
- Pouya Najmaie: Cooperative Energy Futures
- Presentation Slides: Overview of the work of Cooperative Energy Futures.
- Emilia Avalos: Unidos Minnesota
- Jose Perez: Hispanics in Energy
- Presentation Slides: Hispanics in Energy views on the Justice 40 concepts applied to Minnesota’s utility Diversity Opportunities.
- Juventino Meza: Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light
- Marcus Mills: Community Power
Presenters shared their views on what’s needed next to ensure that BIPOC and indigenous communities benefit from the clean energy transition and remain at the forefront of environmental justice.
Fresh Energy Executive Director and state leader, Dr. Brenda Cassellius delivered closing remarks, centering the role of children and families in the work we must do going forward.
Thanks to all who joined us at this powerful event!
Are you interested in helping ensure future events like this are possible? Donate to the MNIPL today and indicate that you want your gift directed to MNIPL’s Diverse Communities Outreach Fund. Thank you to all of our sponsors. This event was possible because of the generous support of Metro State and the McKnight Foundation, as well as:
- Hispanics in Energy
- Citizens Utility Board of MN
- Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
- Community Power
- Unidos MN
- Fresh Energy
- Minnesota Climate and Environmental Justice Table
The work of ensuring equitable participation in Minnesota’s clean energy future is crucial, and we are committed to it. We’ll be in touch!
- Patricia Torres-Ray, Juventino Meza, and Arianna Genis