Minnesota House Rep. Shelly Christensen hosted an environmental town hall on November 16 at the Stillwater Public Library.
She is a member of the Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Committee and as such is among the few lawmakers to actually be directly responsible for climate-related bills for Minnesotans. It was a busy year during the last session. A wide variety of energy and climate-related bills passed out of committee but died in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Among the bills that were killed in the Senate — the Governor Walz-backed measure to mandate 100% renewable energy production by all of Minnesota’s utilities 2050; the Clean Energy First bill that would have required utility companies to use clean energy to meet all increased demand going forward; the Community Solar Gardens bill that would have allowed solar gardens to increase in size from the current one megawatt to 3 megawatts; an electric vehicle bill giving rebates of $2,500 and $500 to buyers of new and used EVs. There was also a $2.5 million grant program aimed at creating electric vehicle charging stations in public places, and there was $5 million for the Prairie Island Indian Community to develop renewable energy systems.
And finally, Shelly’s committee created a Solar at Schools provision to allow the state’s school districts to convert their buildings to solar energy since energy is a district’s second-highest annual cost.
Minnesota is one of the states with the fastest rising average temperatures in the country, which has an impact on agriculture and our forests. Rep. Christensen vows to continue her work to get these bills passed in the next session that starts February 11, 2020.