St. Paul, MN – The Climate Justice Committee and allies held a press conference at Metro State University to hold the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) accountable as they start the three year rulemaking process for a new cumulative impacts law passed in Minnesota in 2023. This cumulative impacts law would not just take into account air pollution from one business at a particular site but would look at the cumulative impacts of pollution in the area and make permitting decisions based on historic pollution and how the community in the area has already been impacted.
The MPCA is responsible for permitting all businesses that have an impact of soil, water and air pollution and was responsible for the permitting of Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline.
At this event, the CJC showed up to hold MPCA accountable for its current and future actions around the issue of air pollution.
“Why is the MPCA not working harder to outreach to the communities they say they want to protect, like East Phillips. I am a student at Metro State, and I wouldn’t have known this event was happening if the CJC hadn’t done this event. We see this as another time when communities like East Phillips in Minneapolis will be let down by legislation that could benefit them. It’s time to end half-measures and leniency for people who poison us!” said Mordecai Mika of the Climate Justice Committee.
Mair Allen from the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy stated, “I’ve lived in East Phillips for 13 years, and I think about my 11-year-old neighbor who died in his house of an asthma attack. And I think about the people who can leave their windows open and can walk around their neighborhoods without coughing; everyone benefits from the environment, but those benefits are uneven. There is no such thing as a ‘community benefit’, it’s not possible to benefit from not having pollution. We shouldn’t have to fight for clean air.” Mair was referring to one part of the legislation that includes making “community benefit” agreements with businesses that would be legally binding.
Climate Justice Committee members and supporters then went into the MPCA meeting to ask questions. The MPCA had intended to only take written comments, but CJC members and other community members forced the MPCA representatives to listen to comments. Several audience members talked about the current lack of community outreach and in particular the lack of indigenous input. Others pointed out the distrust of the MPCA because of its history permitting Line 3. MPCA now knows that the community is watching and will be there to force them to do the right thing and get polluters out of our neighborhoods.
Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis’ Mayor Frey and seven Minneapolis city council members are talking about how they feel personally threatened after the Roof Depot struggle has become national news – after years of ignoring the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute, the group that has been spearheading the push to buy the building with the goal of creating a neighborhood space. As the neighborhood is mobilized and righteously angry about the pollution, Frey and his cronies in the Minneapolis city council try to demonize the neighborhood, attempting to paint activists, particularly indigenous activists, as violent.
Minneapolis, MN – Nearly 100 people joined together January 28 to celebrate the newspaper Fight Back! and to raise funds for the paper. Emcees Autumn Lake and Robyn Harbison led the night with toasts from Twin Cities movements that Fight Back! has covered over the last year and getting the crowd excited to aim to raise enough for one print edition of the paper.
St Paul, MN – On October 28, despite rain and falling temperatures, 50 activists picketed at the Army Corps of Engineers offices in downtown Saint Paul to call for the Corps to pull the permits for the Line 3 oil pipeline and to conduct a full environmental review.
Minneapolis, MN – On September 18 nearly 100 people rallied and marched to call for an end to the Line 3 oil pipeline. The Climate Justice Committee organized the rally to continue pressure on President Biden and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to end the permits for Line 3.
Minneapolis, MN – Over 50 people came together May 2 to socialize and for a short program at a local park pavilion celebrating International Workers Day. The event came on the heels of a 1000-person May Day march in Minneapolis.
St. Paul, MN – Over 500 protesters picketed outside Minnesota Governor Tim Walz mansion, November 14, to protest his decision to grant permits to allow Enbridge to build Line 3, a pipeline that would carry nearly a million barrels of tar sands a day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin through Minnesota. The event was organized by MN 350, and included other groups that have organized against Line 3.
St. Paul, MN – On March 25 Welfare Rights Committee (WRC) members sat in at Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s office throughout the morning to demand welfare grant increases for poor families in Minnesota. The sit-in was timed to coincide with a Senate hearing on bills pushed by the Welfare Rights Committee.
St. Paul, MN – On Feb. 25, Minnesota politicians returned to the State Capitol for the opening of the legislative session and the Welfare Rights Committee and their supporters were there. Over 50 low-income people joined together, despite below-zero temperatures, to send a message to legislators: “Raise the welfare grants. 28 years is too long!”